Investigating the Intersection of Chinese and Euro-American Healthcare Practices in Nevada from 1860-1930
AuthorHeffner, Sarah C.
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This research explores the intersection of Chinese and Euro-American healthcare practices through an investigation of medicinal artifacts located in seven Nevada archaeological collections -- Lovelock Chinatown, Old Cortez, Virginia City Chinatown, Island Mountain, Yeong Wo Mercantile, and sites 26LA3061 and 26LA4425 in the Cortez Mining District. Medicinal artifacts were studied to determine the nature of the ailments treated during the 1860-1930 time period. Analysis of these medicinal artifacts provided information on ailments, including digestive problems, venereal diseases, skin disorders, neurasthenia, and afflictions of the lungs, suffered by residents of Nevada frontier and mining towns.Documentary evidence supported the use of Chinese medicine by Euro-Americans; however, the archaeological evidence did not support such use. Explanations for this incongruity are presented in this study. Archaeological evidence of Chinese use of Euro-American medicines, primarily patent medicines, was found. Drawing upon theories in material culture and identity studies, this research explores several possible reasons for Chinese consumption of Euro-American medicines.Examination of curated collections of Chinese medicine led to the creation of a visual guide which facilitated the identification and interpretation of Chinese medicinal artifacts in the Nevada archaeological collections. This visual guide can aid archaeologists working at Overseas Chinese sites in identifying fragments of Chinese medicinal artifacts.