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Monday, March 14, 2011

Mexican Settlement Near the Presidio Discovered By Archeologists

Archaeologists  at the Fourth Annual Redmond Kernan Lecture Series disclosed their findings of a one-time valley known as El Polin. The valley was discovered beneath four feet of landfill and dates to hundreds of years ago.

The Presidio, site of the first Mexican settlement in San Francisco, will be transformed into an educational walking trail, according to Presidio Trust officials. A classroom deemed the "El Polin Loop" will provide students the opportunity to study the archaeological finds up close.

“This is hot off the presses,” Kari Jones said, referring to the approval of the loop. “I’m so excited, this is wonderful. The great thing about Presidio archaeology is that we get to bring it to the public. Normally archaeologists dig up some artifacts, interpret them and then bury them again.”

Restoration efforts in the wetlands will tranhsform the landscape, reminiscent of the Presidio’s Mexican era. Presidio's history has been poorly understood, so archaeologists are thrilled with this new find, whi9ch will shed light on the Mexican settlements.

This seems to be the first physical evidence of Mexican settlements outside The Presidio, Jones said. The El Polin settlements were on the main trail that extended from El Presidio to Mission Dolores. These were the only established settlements at the time, which was around the 1810’s. Under Mexico rule, El Presidio housed the Mexican governor of California.“That’s why it so important,” Jones said. At this time you were either a soldier or a missionary. Both were very structured societies, and to live outside of those establishments was unheard of until then, Jones added.


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