SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The remains of a massive Gold Rush-era sailing ship dating to the early l800s have been discovered at the site of a large construction project in downtown San Francisco, archaeologists at the scene confirmed.
The ship’s decaying bow peeked through mounds of earth as workers under the direction of an archaeologist brushed away generations of dirt from its aging timbers. A dig crew unearthed the first portions of the ship in early Sept. as they carved away dirt to lay the foundation for a 650-unit condominium development.
“This is awesome. Everybody gets excited about this. It makes digging in all that mud worthwhile,” said James Allan, an archaeologist with Williams Self Associates overseeing the removal and cataloging of the ship’s remains.
The city of San Francisco, the site developer and Allan’s firm have a standing agreement to record the historical value of any submerged cultural resources they come across at such sites, Allan said. It’s not the first such find; the city’s financial district rests atop a nautical morgue, of sorts, with hundreds of ships forming a portion of the landfill that used to be prime waterfront.
Allan said the ship remains do not have anything of value in it, other than history.
The ship was likely abandoned as Gold Rush fever overtook the region in the mid-1800s. In the l850s, as many as 600 ships were abandoned in San Francisco’s harbor, burned or simply junked by owners who switched their focus to mining the rich gold veins in the state’s interior, according to Wolfgang Schubert, who gives historical walking tours of San Francisco’s waterfront for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.