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Author(s): Kathryn Puseman ; Linda Scott Cummings ; Chad Yost

Year: 2012

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Ten samples were selected from a collection of 145 samples recovered during archaeological salvage excavations of the Market Street Chinatown in downtown San Jose, California, from 1985-1986. These ten samples were analyzed for pollen, starches, parasites, phytoliths, and macrofloral remains as part of a pilot study in the “Archaeology of the Urban Environment in 19th Century San Jose.” Excavations revealed features such as trash pits, wood-lined cesspools, wells, and open-air dumps. Most of the features date to the Chinatown period (1862-1887), with a few dating to the Spanish-colonial/Mexican (1776-1848), early statehood (1849-1861), and turn-of-the century (1887-1920) periods (Voss 2011). The ten samples submitted for analysis represent two wood-lined trash pits or possible privies, three unlined trash pits, a wood-lined cistern, and an unlined pit containing pig bones. Pollen, starch, phytolith, and macrofloral analyses provide information concerning plant resources utilized by the Market Street Chinatown occupants, as well as trash deposited in the features and plants growing in the area during the time period represented. Of particular interest for this project is the degree to which the Chinese immigrants relied on Asian imports or adapted diet and medicinal practices to incorporate locally-available resources. Did the Chinese introduce Asian species to the San Jose region, and what were the environmental consequences? Were edible and medicinal plants grown in the urban neighborhood, or were resources obtained from external sources? Parasite analysis provides some insight into the intestinal health of the Chinatown residents.

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POLLEN, PHYTOLITH, STARCH, PARASITE, AND MACROFLORAL ANALYSIS OF SAMPLES FROM THE MARKET STREET CHINATOWN SITE, SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA. Kathryn Puseman, Linda Scott Cummings, Chad Yost. PRI Technical Report ,2012-004. 2012 ( tDAR id: 380134) ; doi:10.6067/XCV82B8XMP


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min long: -122.23; min lat: 37.097 ; max long: -121.452; max lat: 37.486 ;

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Contact(s): PaleoResearch Institute

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Contact(s): PaleoResearch Institute

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America