SAN FRANCISCO, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Researchers from Stanford University have found much deeper connections between Chinese immigrants in the 19th century with the United States, a Stanford newsletter said Tuesday.
An international research group led by Stanford anthropologist Barbara Voss has been working on the Cangdong Village Project, a collaborative research program studying the home villages of Chinese migrants in the 19th century.
Voss and her team were invited to work at an architectural heritage program at Cangdong village in Guangdong, a coastal province of southern China, where researchers found a variety of Chinese ceramic bowls that have close connections with Chinese immigrants in the United States, said Stanford Report, a newsletter delivering news about the university community via email.
"The patterns of some matched the types of bowls discovered at the sites of the camps of Chinese railroad workers in the United States," said the newsletter.
Thousands of Chinese immigrants in the 19th century were hired as laborers to build the First Transcontinental Railroad, which was spanning about 3,100 km across a route that connected the existing eastern U.S. rail network with the Pacific coast at the Oakland Long Wharf on San Francisco Bay.
The researchers also uncovered British-made ceramic plates, as well as American-made medicine bottles and clothing dating between the 1860s and 1912 in Cangdong village in the Pearl River Delta region in southern China, said Stanford Report.
The new findings suggest that Cangdong residents had access to a larger variety of imported goods than previously thought, breaking a long-standing perception that China primarily imported raw materials and exported finished goods in trade with Britain and the United States during the 19th century.
"This research is helping us paint a much more nuanced picture of residents of the Pearl River Delta," Voss said.
"They were sophisticated consumers who had access to goods from around the world. This challenges the stereotype that Chinese migrants were isolated rice farmers who were not part of the world economic systems," she added.
Voss said the excavation effort of the Cangdong Village Project is a big step toward understanding the transnational relationship between China and the United States hundreds of years ago.