History forum returns Feb. 2 in TD

The Dalles archeologists Eric Gleason and Jacqui Cheung will present the first program of the 2013 Regional History Forum Series Saturday, Feb. 2, 1:30 p.m. at the Original Wasco County Courthouse, 410 W. Second Place, The Dalles. Their topic is “The Modoc War: Archeology and Historic Photos.”

Gleason and Cheung worked with National Park Service archeologists on a surface survey of Captain Jack’s Stronghold in Lava Beds National Monument. The intensive survey took two summers to complete.

The survey followed a wildfire that burned across the area in August 2008 and covered an area of approximately 500 acres. More than 800 fortifications from the war were documented. Photos taken during the survey form the first part of Saturday’s program.

The Modoc War of 1872-73 was fought in northern California and southern Oregon pitting the U.S. Army and local volunteers against a contingent of Modoc men, women and children who were being forced to leave their ancestral territory. It was the last of the Indian wars in the Pacific Northwest.

Following the initial skirmish of the war at a Modoc village near the mouth of the Lost River, the inhabitants fled to their traditional area of refuge in the rough and easily defensible lava beds on the southern shore of Tule Lake.

This refuge was to become known as Captain Jack’s Stronghold in recognition of the role of the principal leader of this group of Modoc, Kientpoos, who acquired the name of Captain Jack while trading in Yreka.

The war was extensively covered by the local, national and international press, and two photographers, Eadweard Muybridge and Louis Heller, documented the combatants and battle sites using stereoscopic cameras to capture 3D images. These images proved to be very useful during the survey of 2009-2010, enabling the archeological team to identify specific caves, camps and fortifications from the war.

The second half of Saturday’s program features some of the old stereoscopic photos courtesy of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley.

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History Forum programs take place in the upstairs court room of the 1859 courthouse, and there is a video monitor on the lower level for those unable to climb the stairs. Coffee and cookies will be served after the program.

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