San Francisco History

Native American Burial Sites

Earliest known San Francisco burial: a 24-26 year old woman was found at the excavation of the Civic Center BART station in 1969.

Source: Buried Human Bones at the 'BART' Site San Francisco. California Geology. September 1972. 208-209.

“EXHUMATION OF BONES.—Yesterday afternoon, as the steam paddy was at work pursuing its usual excavation in the rear of the Oriental Hotel, at [the sw corner of] Bush and Battery sts, which was along the original waterline], the shovel scraped out two skulls, and a number of bones. They were just lying in a black soil, partially calcareous, about seven feet below the surface. There was no remnant of a coffin, and the bones appeared to be very old. From the shape of the skulls they were supposed to be those of Indians, which have been probably lying in the earth a long time.”

Source: Daily Alta California, 28 June 1851.

“At the site of the Yerba Buena Gardens - between Howard and Mission, 3rd and 4th Streets - and near Jesse Street in the same vicinity - pre-contact burial sites have been discovered. A shell midden is evident near the Cliff House [and] can be seen near Louie's Food stand.”

Source: Personal Correspondence with Andrew Galvan, Curator, Old Mission Dolores, San Francisco, November 2009.


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