We are pleased to highlight a publication from the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project: a special commemorative thematic issue of the journal, Historical Archaeology (49[1]), which was developed through a Project-sponsored workshop in October 2013. Click here for more information.

Welcome to the Archaeology Network of the Chinese Railroad Worker History Project, a transnational collaborative research endeavor based out of Stanford University. The Archaeology Network of the Chinese Railroad Worker History Project was created at the request of the project organizers, Gordon H. Chang and Shelley Fisher Fishkin, to connect the project with the large community of archaeologists who have been researching Chinese railroad workers and who are involved in managing the sites, collections, archives, and other materials that evidence that history. Dr. Barbara L. Voss, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University, is coordinating the network as a service to the project. Archaeological evidence and research will play a key role in reconstructing the lives and histories of those who built and maintained the railroads.

If you are an archaeologist who would like to be a part of the Archaeology Network, please email Professor Barbara Voss at

The Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project website is subject to Stanford University’s standard Terms of Use ( However, the Images and other materials housed in the database are  individually copyrighted, and are subject to use restrictions based on the requirements of copyright holders.  Please consult with the copyright holder for the individual item for permission to reuse.

The captions accompanying photographs are provided by the holding institutions and are reproduced here as part of the historical record. They may contain descriptors and terminology that are offensive to us today. Similar issues of offensive language may arise in historical texts and place names on this website.



(compiled by Chris Merritt)

1. General Overviews of Overseas Chinese Archaeology

Bell, Peter
1996      Archaeology of the Chinese in Australia. Australasian Historical Archaeology 14:13-18.

Bell, Peter, Gordon P.N. Grimwade, and Neville Ritchie
1993      Archaeology of the Overseas Chinese in Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea: A Select Bibliography. Australian Society of Historical Archaeology Newsletter 23(1).

Ehrenreich, Dixie L., et al.
1985      Annotated Bibliography of Overseas Chinese History and Archaeology. Northwest Anthropological Research Notes 18(2).

Ross, Douglas E.
2013      Overseas Chinese Archaeology. In Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. C. Smith, ed. New York: Springer.

Schulz, Peter D., and Rebecca Allen
2008      Archaeology and Architecture of the Overseas Chinese: A Bibliography. Historical Archaeology 42(3):171-193.

Voss, Barbara L.
2005      The Archaeology of Overseas Chinese Communities. World Archaeology 37(3):424-439.

Voss, Barbara L., and Rebecca Allen
2008      Overseas Chinese Archaeology: Historical Foundations, Current Reflections, and New Directions. Historical Archaeology 42(3):5-28.

Wegars, Priscilla, ed.
1993      Hidden Heritage: Historical Archaeology of the Overseas Chinese. Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing Company, Inc.

Wegars, Priscilla
2008      The Asian American Comparative Collection: A Unique Resource for Archaeologists and Historians. Historical Archaeology 42(3):166-170.

2. Archaeology of Chinese Railroad Workers in North America

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) (2013). Work Camps: Historic Context and Archaeological Research Design. Prepared by HARD Work Camps Team and Caltrans Staff for California Department of Transportation, Sacramento.

Etter, Patricia A.
1980      The West Coast Chinese and Opium Smoking. In Archaeological Perspectives on Ethnicity in America: Afro-American and Asian American Culture History. R.L. Schuyler, ed. Pp. 97-101. Farmingdale, NY: Baywood Publishing Company, Inc.

Evans, William S. Jr.
1980      Food and Fantasy: Material Culture of the Chinese in California and the West, Circa 1850-1900. In Archaeological Perspectives on Ethnicity in America: Afro-American and Asian American Culture History. R.L. Schuyler, ed. Pp. 89-96. Farmingdale, NY: Baywood Publishing Company, Inc.

Merritt, Christopher W.
2010      “The Coming Man from Canton”: Chinese Experience in Montana (1862-1943).” Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, the University of Montana, Missoula.

Merritt, Christopher W., Kelly J. Dixon, and Gary Weisz
2012      “Verily The Road Was Built With Chinaman’s Bones”: An Archaeology of Chinese Line Camps in Montana. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 16(4):666-695.

Wegars, P.
1991      Who’s Been Workin’ on the Railroad? An Examination of the Construction, Distribution, and Ethnic Origins of Domed Rock Ovens on Railroad-Related Sites. Historical Archaeology 25(1):37-65.

Wegars, Priscilla and Roderick Sprague.
1981      Archaeological Salvage of the Joso Trestle Construction Camp, 45FR51, Lower Monumental Project.  Research Manuscript Series, No. 65, Laboratory of Anthropology, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

Wrobleski, David E.
1996      “The Archaeology of Chinese Work camps on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad.”  Master’s Thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada-Reno.

“Towards a Transpacific Archaeology of the Modern World” by Prof. Barbara Voss

Recently, Professor Barbara Voss, Director of Archaeology for the Project, published an article on historical archaeology of overseas Chinese communities, “Towards a Transpacific Archaeology of the Modern World.”…


Special Issue of Historical Archaeology

In commemoration of 150th anniversary of the introduction of Chinese workers to the first transcontinental railroad, the Society for Historical Archaeology has published a special thematic issue of…