The 1985-1986 excavations at the Market Street Chinatown site were conducted by Archaeological Resource Service, Inc., an archaeological consulting firm. This was one of 36 features found at the site. In their field report, the archaeologists wrote, “A total of 50 bags of soil were removed from this feature. The feature was lined in redwood [and] four major strata were observed. – The soil was extremely organic, contained myriad fish bones, and smelled very strongly. A jade ornament was found at the northeast corner of the filled pit.”
To prepare the collection for cataloging and analysis, curation staff at History San Jose first transferred the artifacts to new, clean boxes to protect the materials during transit. On November 5, 2002, about one fifth of the collection (96 boxes) were moved to the Stanford Archaeology Center laboratory. During November and December, Research Assistants Gina Michaels and Ezra Erb inspected the contents of each box to identify any artifacts that needed immediate conservation treatment, and to set priorities for cataloging and analysis.
Artifact of the Week
The logo we chose for this website – a Chinese symbol that means “Double Happiness” – is from this artifact. This ceramic sherd is from a porcelain rice bowl that was manufactured in China and shipped to California for sale to Chinese immigrants. The “Double Happiness” decoration was very popular, and examples of this type of ceramic have been found in 19th century Chinese overseas sites throughout California. In the 1870s, a bowl like this one probably could have been purchased for about 2 to 5 cents.