The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Friday, 29 March 2019 01:00cat

Military facilities found beneath Alcatraz prison

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Military facilities found beneath Alcatraz prison Military facilities found beneath Alcatraz prison

Archaeologists have found a buried military facility beneath the prison yard of Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, which is now controlled by the National Park Service.

Scientists from the University of Binghamton used ground-penetrating radar, terrestrial laser scans, photographs and maps to discover buried structures, ammunition storage rooms and tunnels from the USA civil war period. 

Their study was recently published in Near Surface Geophysics journal. "These remains are so well preserved, and so close to the surface. They weren't erased from the island - they're right beneath your feet," author Timothy de Smet, an archaeologist at Binghamton University, stated.

U.S. took control of Alcatraz after capturing California from Mexico back in the 1840s. The island was first utilized for military purposes by President Millard Fillmore in 1850. Later, it became a military prison that held prisoners of war during the Civil War. However, a small proportion of the military facilities was thought to remain by the time the island was transferred to the Bureau of Prisons in 1933.

The team plans to further study the island to find out what else may lie below the surface.

According to De Smet, scanning technology technique can be manipulated to explore archaeological sites without disrupting them. "With modern remote sensing methods like these, we can answer fundamental archaeological research questions about human behavior, social organization and cultural change through time without costly and destructive excavation, thereby preserving these non-renewable archaeological resources in the ground - or in situ as we say in the field - for future generations. These results are significant in that they show how modern technology can be used to answer fundamental questions of archaeological importance without any destructive excavations," he commented.


For more information on the new findings, click the video below that was published by Binghamton University.


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High-tech laser scans uncover hidden military traverse at Alcatraz Island

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