Discovery of the Month: The Collection - A Century in the Presidio

Thursday, Aug 04, 2016 Category History

Above left to right, Heritage Technician Juliana Fernandez, Archaeology Intern Claire Yancey, and Archaeology Intern Katherine Eadie.

Did you know the Presidio Archaeology Lab cares for a collection of more than 500,000 discoveries? This extensive assortment is the result of two decades of research in the Presidio. Join us each month as we uncover unique objects and share the stories they reveal about the park's past.

Archaeology has been a part of our national parks from their inception. The archaeology that the Presidio Trust does here in the Presidio, and the collection of artifacts created by that work, continues that legacy. As the national park system turn 100, let's learn about what goes on at the Presidio Archaeology Lab.

Collections Intern Ernesto Perez works to inventory ceramic fragments in the collection

At this moment, Presidio Trust archaeologists and museum professionals are working to create a full inventory of all artifacts. This means we're going through the collection, box by box, to identify and track where each of the park's 500,000 artifacts are stored. We work every day to care for the collection so that we can share it over the next 100 years.

There are only a handful of places in the world where you can visit an archaeological excavation with an open site, an active archaeological laboratory, a collections facility where all of the discoveries are housed permanently, and a museum that displays the findings all located within only a few steps of one another. But the Presidio Officers' Club in this national park is one of them, so we feel pretty lucky to offer this experience to our visitors.

Archaeology Intern Zack Babineau finishes inventorying one of the 1,250 boxes in the archaeology collection

So how much space do 500,000 different objects take up? If all of the boxes of the collection were laid out end to end, they would stretch about one quarter of a mile! And the collection just keeps growing... 

Exhibition Intern Selena McGonnell (right) shows off a porcelain object to Exhibition Intern Madeline McLeod

Are you interested in learning more about archaeology in the Presidio? There are many different ways to become involved:


Live Archaeology Dig outside the Presidio Officers' Club
The archaeologists of the Presidio are on site and open for visitors every Friday and Saturday, 10 am to 2 pm, June 24 through October 15, 2016. Come on by and see our latest discoveries!


Archaeology Lab Tours at the Presidio Officers' Club (year round)
Guided Tours - Every Wednesday at 1 pm
Open Lab Hours - Every Wednesday 2 to 4 pm​