Hands on the Past at the Presidio Archeology Lab

In 1776, the Native Ohlone and Coast Miwok people witnessed the beginning of a massive transformation when several hundred Spanish colonists arrived on foot to make a new home and a large sailing ship arrived by sea to deliver their supplies. Work quickly began to build a fortified village called El Presidio de San Francisco. El Presidio and nearby Mission Dolores were the first institutions built in the area that would become San Francisco. El Presidio is truly the “birthplace of San Francisco.”

The Presidio of San Francisco is a former military base on the northern tip in San Francisco and is now apart of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. As the land was being transferred, archeologists were deployed uncovering decades of the original Spanish Fort led by Juan Bautista de Anza on March 28, 1776, and built by a party led by José Joaquín Moraga later that year.

Today, the Presidio Officers’ Club campus includes an archaeology lab with periodic tours that invite visitors to experience this active research center where the Presidio’s artifacts are identified, analyzed, and curated.


Every Wednesday at 1 pm
(except November 25)

Join Presidio Trust archaeologists and interns on a free tour to learn about the Presidio’s archaeological process and the area’s current and past excavations. Tours last about an hour and start at the Welcome Desk inside the Presidio Officers’ Club. After a quick visit to the archaeological site of El Presidio, we will move into the state-of-the-art lab and collections facility, where the Presidio’s artifacts are cleaned, catalogued, studied, and curated.

The lab tour is followed by open lab hours from 2 to 4 pm.


June 17 through October 17
Meet outside the Presidio Officers’ Club
Thursday and Friday, 9 am to 2:30 pm – outside the Presidio Officers’ Club
Saturday, 9 am to 4:30 pm – outside the Presidio Officers’ Club

Witness archaeology in action as Presidio Trust archaeologists excavate El Presidio de San Francisco, the site of the original Spanish-colonial fort buried just underneath the ground in front of the Presidio Officers’ Club. The archaeologists invite you to check out their most recent findings and ask questions. For volunteer opportunities, email volunteer@presidiotrust.gov.