Archaeological Dig Verifies Shasta Village in Ashland

Oct 25, 2013

As It Was - Episode 2264

 Archaeological digs that preceded the restoration of Ashland’s historic plaza in 2012 verified the existence of a Shasta Indian village that probably extended south to today’s nearby Lithia Park. One of the first settlers, Capt. Thomas Smith, referred to the village, called K’Wak-ha-kha, when he moved to the area from Texas.  He settled in the Willow Springs area, once called Tolo, between what is now Central Point and Gold Hill.  Smith befriended Chief Typsu and his band, and because of his familiarity with the region’s Indians, Smith was frequently called upon to negotiate disputes during the Rogue Indian Wars in 1853.   Archaeologists found more than 190 artifacts in the 2012 dig, including choppers, scrapers and obsidian flakes.  These added to a list of artifacts discovered in earlier digs in 1987 and 2002. The archaeologists also uncovered early 20th century items including a glass inkwell and a copper-plated spur. In the 1800s, the Plaza was the starting point of the main north-south wagon road between Oregon and California that would become the basic path for today’s Interstate 5 freeway.   What once was a regularly scheduled stagecoach stop has become Ashland’s central gathering spot, especially for tourists and itinerants.   Sources: Darling, John. "Recent Excavation Proves Presence Of Shasta Indian Village Under Plaza." Mail Tribune 7 May 2013 [Medford, Ore.] . Print.