San Francisco shipwreck map

Cartographers are still putting the finishing touches on the new map, which will appear in the visitors’ center at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. MAP COURTESY SAN FRANCISCO MARITIME NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

Dozens of vessels that brought gold-crazed prospectors to the city in the 19th century still lie beneath the streets.

Excerpt from National Geographic writer Greg Miller: Every day thousands of passengers on underground streetcars in San Francisco pass through the hull of a 19th-century ship without knowing it. Likewise, thousands of pedestrians walk unawares over dozens of old ships buried beneath the streets of the city’s financial district. The vessels brought eager prospectors to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush, only to be mostly abandoned and later covered up by landfill as the city grew like crazy in the late 1800s.

Further excerpt: Three archaeologists—James Allan, James Delgado, and Allen Pastron—consulted on the making of the new shipwreck map, and discoveries by them and their colleagues have added several fascinating details that weren’t on the original buried-ships map created by the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in 1963…

Read the full story on the National Geographic website:

For more about Jim’s work on the San Francisco gold rush ships, you can review his articles on the subject and have a look at his in-depth book: Gold Rush Port: The Maritime Archaeology of San Francisco’s Waterfront here.