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).

New Glass Analysis Project

Hi all, 

My name is Kim Connor and I’m the new Postdoctoral Scholar on the MSCAP project. This year I’m going to be working on re-cataloging glass tablewares (cups and other vessels used for consuming food and drink) and containers (like bottles and jars) and beginning to analyze them. I’m very excited to be working on the project and am hoping to occasionally post some of the cool things that I find as I’m working my way through the material. Here are a couple of my favorites from the last few weeks! 



This seal would have decorated the shoulder of a bottle full of absinthe made by Edouard Pernod in Couvet Switzerland between around 1827 and 1910.

The base of this bottle is embossed AB&Co. We don’t know who this maker was, although bottle collectors suggest it might have been European from the 1860s to 1910s. This bottle might have held beer or wine.

On the base of this bottle you can see a perfectly round valve mark because this bottle was made by a machine, meaning it probably dates from the 20th century, after the Chinatown had left the site.