El Presidio de San Francisco: Investigating Daily Life on the Spanish Frontier

Author(s): Montserrat A. Osterlye

Year: 2015


In 1776, Spain sent thirty families from what is now Mexico to establish El Presidio de San Francisco as the northernmost outpost of their empire. Presidial soldiers defended adjacent Catholic missions and policed California Indians in the San Francisco Bay Area. The historical record is largely silent on the lives of colonial families and their relationships with indigenous people.

This paper summarizes research at the archaeological site of El Presidio de San Francisco since its discovery in 1994. Excavation just beyond the walls of the 1815 fort located a deposit rich with California Indian artifacts, providing clues about the expanding reach of colonial institutions in the aftermath of the disintegration of the traditional lifeways of local Ohlone Indians. The Presidio Archaeology Lab is conducting ongoing public research excavations to better understand the colonial landscape and its role in reshaping the lives of Spanish colonists and California Indians.    

Cite this Record

El Presidio de San Francisco: Investigating Daily Life on the Spanish Frontier. Montserrat A. Osterlye. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433861)

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Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 356