Archaeology

The Transbay archaeology exhibit developed by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) was recognized by the California Preservation Foundation in 2012 with the Preservation Design Award for outstanding achievement in the field of historic preservation.

Since its inception in 2011, the exhibit has been hosted by several TJPA transit partners and others, allowing members of the public throughout the Bay Area to view the exhibit’s artifacts and accompanying banners which feature historic context. After initially opening in the lobby of TJPA’s building (201 Mission Street) in San Francisco in December 2011, the exhibit moved to the lobby of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission from April to June 2012, the Alameda–Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) headquarters from June to October 2012, and then Caltrans District 4 headquarters from October 2012 to March 2013. The exhibit returned to the lobby of 201 Mission Street in San Francisco through July 2013, and currently is on display in the TJPA offices.

As the construction of the Transbay Transit Center moves ahead, we are pleased to share with our project neighbors and Bay Area residents some of the artifacts we have found along the way. The exhibit features a variety of items discovered within the footprint of the project site that illuminate the rich history of San Francisco’s gold rush era. Recovered artifacts show the way 19th Century residents of the South of Market neighborhood lived, worked and played, including industrial tools, household items and remnants of neighborhood businesses.

Excavation of the Transbay Transit Center site also uncovered a Columbian Mammoth tooth estimated to be approximately 11,000 years old. The tooth was donated to the California Academy of Sciences where it is currently on display. For more information on the tooth and California Academy of Sciences exhibit click here:

California Academy of Sciences Mammoth Tooth Update

For more information on the Transbay archaeology exhibit, watch the Board Presentation and download informational PDFs here:

Archaeology At The Transbay Transit Center
Life In The Neighborhood
The Movement of Cultures
The Waterfront and The Rise of Industry
Archaeology Exhibit Factsheet


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The artifacts displayed below are a sampling of the exhibit. To learn more about each artifact, click on the desired image below.

Archaeology Album