Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Kelly Dixon

Commitee Members

Carl Davis, Christopher W. Merritt


Butte, Historic Archaeology, Historic Mining, Montana, Overseas Chinese


University of Montana


The German Gulch Archaeological Collection, a result of archaeological investigation at German Gulch by Butte, Montana cultural resource management firm GCM and the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest during the late 1980s and early 1990s, represents a unique opportunity to explore ethnic relationships in rural Montana mining communities during the last half of the 19th century. The German Gulch site was a location of cultural interaction, between Overseas Chinese, European, and European American communities all focused on mining the mineral resources of the gulch. The collection presents an opportunity to test assumptions about bounded ethnic relationships as well as the process of cultural resource management. This thesis is the result of a project aimed at curating the German Gulch collection and exploring differences in curation techniques between the 1990s and the present day. This thesis is also an examination of the theoretical framework of Overseas Chinese archaeology and the changes in the discipline over the last 40 years. Themes that explore dynamic cultural interactions between German Gulch’s Overseas Chinese community and the largely European American community with which they interacted, are explored through the lens of the merchant as cultural ambassador and the possibility of encountering Chinese manufactured goods outside of Overseas Chinese community contexts.



© Copyright 2012 William Travis Norman