Heinlenville was one of six San José Chinatowns. Archaeologists from the Anthropological Studies Center, Sonoma State University and local San José historians are working with the Redevelopment Agency, City of San José to unearth selected areas of Heinlenville and early Japantown. The test excavation took place from the 11th to 17th March 2008, and data recovery excavation was conducted from the 14th to 23rd of April 2009. Work continues now back at the ASC lab, as we process artifacts and soil samples recovered from the site.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Heinlenville Dig Begins

Dear Friends of Heinlenville

The Sonoma State U. archaeologists were on-site at the Corporation Yard site (aka "Heinlenville/Nihonmachi") early this morning, thanks to the city, and able to dig their trenches. The parking lot site was first and already has yielded shards of various pottery/glass, plus other small pieces including what looks like a bicycle or buggy hub. The other four trenches will be explored as the job progresses over these next ten days. These sites will include those of the Chinese temple, a restaurant and a store.

Enthusiasm is high for finding more significant pieces/features as the dig moves on. However, everyone has been slowed by the significant press coverage. Three of the major TV stations sent reporters out for several hours interviewing the archaeology teams and also Japantown community representatives Leslie Masunaga and myself, plus historian Connie Young Yu whose family store will be explored here. Additionally three of the Chinese newspapers, plus Chinese language TV's KTSF were also out on site. We have been in contact with these folks for weeks before the digging started, so I am happy to see that they are finding this so very "newsworthy"

I have contacted all of the big three Japanese American newspapers but so far I have not seen any coverage, so keep your fingers crossed for their reports. Perhaps the initial archaeology is more of a Chinese story, but as the dig goes on and especially as the entire project moves forward, then it will be a story for all the papers/TV stations, ethnic and otherwise. As I publicly remarked earlier, this story is not just local, but national and international in importance.

Your embedded reporter
Rod Lum
Japantown Community Congress member