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Hidden Heritage: Historical Archaeology of the Overseas Chinese
Edited by Priscilla Wegars
Monographs in Archaeology Series, Robert L. Schuyler, Series Editor

This collection of chapters provides a forum for the current research results and ideas on overseas Chinese archaeology. It presents a large body of history, methods, interpretation, and artifact analysis. In addition to those archaeologists specializing in Chinese American history, Hidden Heritage will be of interest to all historical archaeologists and to scholars of Asian American studies, and to persons of Asian descent.

"Hidden Heritage demonstrates the state of the art in the archaeological study of an ethnic minority...crisp and authoritative...diligent and cutting edge of the archaeological discipline."
—Peter Bell, State Heritage Branch, South Australia

"Hidden Heritage deserves to be on the shelf of all academic libraries and personal collections."
—Lily Wai, University of Idaho Library

"Hidden Heritage is a treasure trove of the Chinese during the construction of the West. Hidden Heritage contains something for everyone."
—Gerard Lim, Asian Week, Volume 14, Number 43, June 18, 1993

Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, large numbers of people from mainland China emigrated to the United States and other countries seeking employment. Termed "overseas Chinese," they made lasting contributions to the development of early communities, an impact which has only begun to be recognized in recent years. "Chinatowns," rural mining claims, work camps for railroad and other construction activities, salmon canneries and shrimp camps, laundries, stores, cook shacks, cemeteries, and temples are only some of the sites where traces of their presence can be found. In recent years, numerous archaeological and historical investigations of the overseas Chinese have taken place, and Hidden Heritage presents the results of some of those studies.

Topics range from urban sites in several states to structures and garden terraces in wild and scenic parts of Idaho, and include mining, artifacts, foodways, cannery workers, and women, as well as some comparative material for New Zealand. The closing chapter summarizes method and theory to date.

Ethnic identification of the Chinese presence is made easier by the fact that the artifacts found on overseas Chinese archaeological sites invariably include ones that were either brought with them or imported by them. Their table ceramics, food and alcoholic beverage containers, medicinal bottles, gambling-related objects, and opium-smoking paraphernalia are quite different in appearance from objects used by Euroamericans, and many of them are illustrated in the various chapters. Because of the variety of the subject matter, the sum of bibliographies is extensive; the book is also indexed.

For more information visit the Asian American Comparative Collection

Please Note:  All authors royalties from this volume will be donated to the Asian American Comparative Collection at the Alfred W. Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology, University of Idaho. This publication has been partially subsidized by a grant from the John Calhoun Smith Memorial Fund, University of Idaho.

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Hidden Heritage: Historical Archaeology of the Overseas Chinese

Editor: Priscilla Wegars
Paper ISBN:
Page Count: 456
Copyright: 1993

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