Beginning of the Project

Market Street Chinatown site, Feature 13 (redwood-lined pit), after excavation. Courtesy of Archaeological Resource Services.

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.”

Ezra Erb, project research assistant, helping to move the collection into the Stanford Archaeology Center laboratory

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

Ceramic sherd. Field Catalog # 85-31/0/25.

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.

4 thoughts on “Beginning of the Project

  1. Hello- The Market Street Chinatown Archaeological Project site is very informative. I’m looking forward to future visits to this site as well as participation in upcoming discussions. See you all tomorrow, Louise

  2. In a future update can you let us know what will be done with the artifacts once cataloged.With about 500 boxes this could take awhile.

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