Old Town San Diego State Historic Park
Reconstruction Archaeology at the Silvas-McCoy Site
A paper presented at the 1997 Annual Meeting of the Society for California Archaeology, Santa Rosa
David L. Felton and Regina M. George
California Department of Parks and Recreation
2505 Port Street - West Sacramento, CA 95691
State Park archaeologists excavated in Old Town San Diego in 1995 to recover information needed to reconstruct a large residence built in 1869 by James McCoy, a well-to-do Irish immigrant who served as San Diegos sheriff and state senator.
Field work also exposed foundations of earlier adobe buildings and artifacts dating to the 1830s-40s. Although early ownership is unclear, prior to 1851 the property belonged to Maria Eugenia Silvas, descendant of a Spanish Colonial soldier who came to Alta California in the 1770s. The presence of archaeological resources representing 2 distinct periods and communities has precipitated a public controversy regarding the appropriateness of reconstructing the McCoy House, rather than earlier buildings associated with Mexican-Californio occupants. We describe results of archaeological work and discuss some of the issues involved in the controversy.