Artifact Identification


During the course of studying the Chinese in Montana, it is clear that the internet lacks a central location to help the public and archaeologists identify Chinese artifacts. This section of the Chinese in Montana website is completed in partnership with Gary Weisz, an avocational archaeologist in Idaho who possesses a tremendous collection of comparative materials he has acquired over the years. I hope to expand the artifact identification section through additional submissions of artifact photos. If anyone has additional information or more photographs relating please send Merritt an email that can be found under “Contact Us”. 

Chinese Ceramics


Glass Items

Opium Paraphernalia

Personal Items



Chinese immigrants used coins from China, Vietnam and even Japan during their stay in Montana. These coins did not actually have any monetary value, instead they were used for a variety of purposes including good luck charms, gambling tokens and markers, and even served some function during Chinese funerals. Thus, the coins were used far after their originally minting, with some dating back into the 1300s. Archaeologists discover these types of items at sites in Montana and elsewhere in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Unless otherwise noted, all items on this page are in the private collection of Gary Weisz. In addition, all photos on this page are by Gary Weisz.

Click here for a good resource used to identify Chinese coins.


Chinese wen, Vietnamese dong, and Japanese mon found at Chinese archaeological sites along the Northern Pacific Railroad in Montana. Identification of these coins is found below the image.

Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanase, Canadian and American coins found on Chinese railroad archaeological sites in Montana and northern Idaho.