The Market Street Chinatown as it appeared ca. 1880. Photograph by Andrew P. Hill. History San José collections.

Welcome to the web site for the Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project, a research and education program developed to catalog, analyze, report, and curate a remarkable collection of artifacts that were excavated in 1985-1988. Once located at the intersections of Market and San Fernando Streets in downtown San José, California, the Market Street Chinatown was founded in the 1860s and occupied until it was burned in an arson fire in 1887. A century later, the site of the Market Street Chinatown was chosen for urban redevelopment, including the construction of the Fairmont Hotel and the Silicon Valley Financial Center. The City of San José Redevelopment Agency contracted Archaeological Resource Service to monitor construction activities and conduct excavations at the site. After preliminary analysis, the artifacts from the site were boxed and put in storage at a warehouse that was inaccessible to researchers and to the public. The primary goal of this project is to catalog and analyze the collection so they can once again be used for research and educational programs.

The material on this website allows you to follow our progress and to access the preliminary data we have collected. Technical Reports and Progress Reports can be accessed through links on the right. Other published articles related to this project are listed in our Project Bibliography. You can post comments, questions, and other ideas by clicking on the “discussion” link at the end of each posting.

To contact us directly, please email Professor Barbara Voss (Principal Investigator).

Say Hello to Our New Student Intern!



My name is Alana Okonkwo and I am a Stanford Undergraduate studying Archaeology and African & African American Studies. I am a student researcher for the MSCAP project. I help support Kim Connor with re-categorizing glass tableware and containers and digitizing our artifact cataloging forms. 

I joined this project to learn more about artifact analysis and to understand the important role that glass played in the daily lives of Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans at Market Street. I love thinking about the stories that each bottle holds, from its creation to its use to its deposition. One of my favorite parts of this project has been transcribing the embossed marks on bottles to determine what their original contents may have been. I would like to continue researching the contents of the bottles to understand consumption amongst the community members who used these bottles!

This is one of my favorite artifacts so far, it’s from a bottle of medicinal bitters!

Though this is only my fifth week working on the MSCAP project, I have already learned so much about glass manufacturing techniques, typologies of glass finishes, and the conservation challenges that archaeologists face when working with glass. I hope to continue making blog posts that shed insight upon the new things that I learn! 


Until next time,