Spanish to the Silicon: The Diversity of San Francisco Historical Archaeology

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

San Francisco, as the one of the oldest cities on the West Coast, has a multifarious economic and cultural history that encompasses an array of eras from its origins as a Spanish outpost beginning in the 18th century, through Mexican rule in the early-19th century, and United States statehood in the mid-19th century. The papers in this session will focus on the geographical area of the San Francisco peninsula and will feature a variety of topics that touch upon the cultural and social history of the city. The papers will discuss how historic archaeology has contributed to a more complete understanding of the lives of the many people who contributed to the city's continuing culture of diversity and progress.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-15 of 15)

  • Documents (15)

  • Archaeology of San Francisco Jews (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Adrian Praetzellis. Mary Praetzellis.

    Archaeological collections from San Francisco’s South-of-Market area speak to the lives of 19th century Jews. We take the position that archaeology can help us understand the effects of the haskalah (the Jewish "enlightenment") on European immigrants’ efforts to divest themselves of their sociological ambivalence. In this way, archaeology can help illuminate one of the most enduring and controversial issues in contemporary Jewish studies: the relationship between identity and religious...

  • Archaeology of the Gold Rush Waterfront (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only James Delgado.

    Archaeological research conducted in the former, now land-filled Gold Rush waterfront of San Francisco has defined a rapidly developed port infrastructure and substantial remains of discarded material culture that comprises a several block wide and deep macro-site. Buried ships, collapsed buildings, pilings from wharves and piers, and discarded cargoes buried by urban expansion and the filling of the are have emerged periodically due to redevelopment since 1907 and discoveries continue well...

  • Assessing Archaeological Sensitivity in San Francisco (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Allison Vanderslice. Randall Dean.

    The San Francisco Planning Department archaeological staff reviews hundreds of projects for archaeological sensitivity each year as part of the California Environmental Quality Act review process. To aid this review, the Department has begun a long-term GIS project creating thematic maps and related datasets to inform archeological site identification, to determine interrelationships between archeological sites and historical land uses, and to direct research designs. Over the last 8 years the...

  • Before San Francisco: The Archaeology of El Polin Spring in the Presidio of San Francisco (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kari Jones.

    Archaeological research at El Polín Spring in the Presidio of San Francisco illuminates the early history of the city before San Francisco and Yerba Buena. Initial historic research and archaeological excavation at El Polín revealed what was interpreted to be the home and associated refuse midden of two intermarried colonial families. This is the first known Spanish-colonial occupation outside the walls of El Presidio de San Francisco, dating to sometime after 1812. More recent excavation at the...

  • Ceramic Production, Supply, and Exchange in the San Francisco Presidio Jurisdiction (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Russell Skowronek. Ronald Bishop.

    In the late eighteenth century Spain occupied the San Francisco Bay Area and rapidly transformed the region through the introduction of agriculture, animal husbandry, Roman Catholicism, the Spanish language and the use of pottery. This presentation focuses on the latter, and considers the questions surrounding local manufacture, importation, and exchange of ceramics among the missions, presidio and pueblos of the San Francisco Presidio Jurisdiction. Through the application of instrumental...

  • A Civil War Period Ossuary Pit, Point San Jose Hospital Site, San Francisco (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Peter Gavette. Leo Barker.

    The United States Army reactivated Point San Jose, a military base established by Spanish in 1776, during the Civil War to protect the San Francisco Bay from Confederate threats. In 2010, the Nation Park Service undertook rehabilitation of several historic buildings dating back to the late nineteenth century. This paper examines a significant feature discovered during the refurbishment of the army hospital that was active from 1863 to 1903. Archaeological monitors discovered an ossuary pit...

  • A Freeway Through the Past: The Replacement of Doyle Drive through the Presidio of San Francisco National Historic Landmark (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michelle Cross.

    The historic south access road to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, was known as Doyle Drive. It was identified as structurally and seismically deficient in the early 2000's and construction on its replacement began in 2009 by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The Doyle Drive Project was unique in that it spanned the Presidio of San Francisco, a National Historical Landmark District, and that it involved several agency landholdings and stakeholders including the Presidio...

  • GIS Model Development for Historic Census Data in San Francisco (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nazih Fino.

    This article demonstrates how to build historical data sets from the 1800-1900 San Francisco census/city directories, using GIS model to enhance the meaning of the census data and add a micro-depth, and to enable researchers to depict and analyze the spatial pattern of their study. The raw data of the census/city directories is organized according to addresses (parcels). The historic census GIS model integrates the city parcels to the census/city directories to spatially process and map the...

  • Life on Grove Street: Victorian Households in Hayes Valley, San Francisco (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Hannah Ballard. Elena Reese.

    During the mid to late 19th Century, Hayes Valley was a San Francisco neighborhood transitioning from working to middle class. Residents included European immigrants and transplants from other parts of the US. Many families rented the single and multifamily residences that lined the streets. In 2013, Pacific Legacy, Inc. conducted testing and archaeological monitoring excavations for the construction of a multistory building on Grove Street in the Hayes Valley. These investigations unearthed...

  • Maritime Households in San Francisco (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mark Walker. Whitney McClellan.

    In its work in the neighborhoods in the South of Market area of San Francisco the Anthropological Studies Center of Sonoma State University acquired a database of 14 assemblages from households associated with the maritime sector of San Francisco’s economy. Because of this sector’s centrality within the city’s economy, maritime workers are a dominant element in social and labor histories of the city. They are not, however, so visible in the archaeological record. In this paper, we present recent...

  • A Mid-19th Century Lighter from San Francisco Bay’s Yerba Buena Cove: Context, Documentation and Conservation (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only John Schlagheck. Dave Casebolt. Eloise Warren.

    In 2013, WSA recovered a well-preserved Gold Rush Era lighter from the original shore of Yerba Buena Cove. This class of boat, used to load and unload ships where there is no adequate harbor, was used extensively in San Francisco prior to the completion of sufficient deep-water wharfs in the 1860s. This paper contextualizes the use of lighters in frontier San Francisco and presents new insights into the construction of the recovered lighter gained from the creation of a 1:12 scale model. The...

  • Poverty, Motherhood, and Childhood in 19th-Century San Francisco (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Teresa Bulger.

    Popular images of the maritime industry in places like San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Cove often focus on men — whether working on docks or ships, or on land at iron works and carpenter’s shops. Less visible in the historical record of these spaces are the women and children also living, and often working, along the waterfront. Historical research on the neighborhood that bordered Yerba Buena Cove in the late-19th-century suggests that most residences were occupied by families, rather than by...

  • They Build Ships There: Gold-Rush San Francisco’s Maritime Industries (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only James Allan.

    The unprecedented growth of San Francisco during the California Gold-rush was fueled in part by the ingenuity and ambitions of entrepreneurs who recognized and exploited economic opportunities unrelated to the activities in the gold fields. This paper will discuss several maritime enterprises whose remains have been discovered and documented during archaeological investigations William Self Associates has conducted along and within the former confines of early San Francisco’s Yerba Buena...

  • Tokens of Travel: Material Culture of Transoceanic Journeys in San Francisco (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kari Lentz.

    During the second half of the nineteenth century thousands of travelers embarked on voyages aboard steamships headed for San Francisco that could last weeks or months. In the past decade, William Self Associates has conducted multiple excavations within the vicinity of the original coastline of Yerba Buena Cove that have yielded an abundance of artifacts. This paper focuses on dinnerware pieces employed for meals aboard vessels of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company that were recovered from...

  • Use of Archeological Districts in San Francisco (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Randall Dean.

    It is very probably the case that more archeology is done in San Francisco than in any other major city in the U.S. Yet this archeological work is done without the benefit of any archeological ordinance or adopted archeological guidance but rather through the City’s implementation of State environmental laws. To overcome the vagueness and generality of these regulations, the City Planning Planning Department has initiated an Archeological District Project (ADP), with the aim of creating...