In this July 7, 2011, file photo, Jim Breeden of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, walks through the dungeons below the main cell house during a night tour on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Hidden tunnels found below Alcatraz prison

Archaeologists find buildings and tunnels under prison yard at famed San Francisco pen

Archaeologists confirmed a long-time suspicion of historians and say that famed Alcatraz prison was built over a Civil War-era military fortification.

Researchers found a series of buildings and tunnels under the prison yard of Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, which once held Al Capone, SFGate reported Tuesday.

A study published last week in “Near Surface Geophysics” said archaeologists used ground-penetrating radar and terrestrial laser scans and historical maps and photographs. They found fully buried structures, ammunition magazines and tunnels.

“This really changes the picture of things,” study author Timothy de Smet, an archaeologist at Binghampton University, told PBS. “They weren’t erased from the island — they are right beneath your feet.”

Archaeologists are now planning more study to discover what else lies just below the surface.

READ MORE: B.C. bolsters protections of heritage, archeological sites

Historians believe workers built over existing structures when the prison was built in the 20th century.

Alcatraz first came to the attention of the U.S. government after it took control of California from Mexico in the 1840s. Its location in San Francisco Bay made it attractive for military fortification purposes.

During the Civil War, Fort Alcatraz was the official military prison for the West Coast.

In the 1930s, the first federal prisoners — deemed by the media to be the worst of the worst — began arriving. The last inmate left in 1963.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nanaimo students press for action on climate change

Strike for Climate was held again Friday; students feel their concerns aren’t being taken seriously

Bus loop will now remain in downtown Nanaimo until the end of the year

Shelters installed at temporary Port Drive/Front Street transit exchange

Nanaimo kindergarten teacher receives Prime Minister’s award

Departure Bay Eco-School’s Liz McCaw use of experiential learning methods earns her accolade

Nanaimo man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

James Farkas breaks hip in fall from beach cliff, returns months later to save eagle on same beach

Nanaimo athletes win Island track and field championships

Every Nanaimo high school was represented at last week’s event

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

Dave Tryon, now 72 and living in North Delta, will reunite with long-ago travelling friends in Monterrey, Calif.

Beefs & Bouquets, May 23

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Students get a look at some of the City of Nanaimo’s inner workings

Hundreds of students participate in Public Works Day

City of Nanaimo announces winner of street banner design contest

Amy Pye’s artwork shows people living in harmony with the ocean and nature

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Volunteers already rescuing fry from drying creekbeds around Cowichan Lake

It’s early but already salmon fry are being left high and dry

Most Read