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

Residents weigh in on protecting Sicamous from flooding

Survey and open house allow chance to suggest priorities for flood barrier

Okanagan Cat Coalition asks for help from community

The coalition has lost over half its inventory of traps

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Here comes the sun

Double digit temperatures will persist through the week

Kelowna hiker rescued from Canyon Falls Park

The Kelowna Fire Department performed a high angle rope rescue

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Southern Interior worst for animal-related crashes

ICBC stats put the interior at 4,800 incidents in 2017

Trudeau fills vacancy in cabinet with B.C. MP Joyce Murray

Murray, 64, was elected in 2008 and served previously as a minister in B.C.’s provincial government

Leivo nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Stars 3-2

Schaller scores first 2 goals of season for Vancouver

More places in Kelowna to eat plant-based meat

Vegans and Vegetarians have a few more places to indulge

UBC study shows honey bees can help monitor pollution in cities

Scientists analyzed beehives in high density urban areas to those off on Galiano Island

Most Read