Archaeologists unearth Chinatown artifacts from before 1906 earthquake

- Construction of the $1.6 billion Central Subway in San Francisco's Chinatown has archeologists hard at work.

Sonoma State University archeologist Kyle Rabellino would know, on Monday he uncovered the bases of several sewing machines located 8 feet underground what was a sidewalk.

Adrian Praetzellis, Director of Anthropological Studies Center at Sonoma State University, made a statement to KTVU Fox 2 News regarding Monday's find:

"The bases were probably made in the 1870s. The adjacent building was occupied by Chinese garment workers from the late 1870s until 1906."

The archeologists are working to create a "GIS," or geographic information system, which allows them to create layers filled with information of what they're made up of. 

“There’s very little that remains of Chinatown prior to the [1906] earthquake, so this is basically the last remains of the earliest Chinatown.” 

As of now, five layers have been developed since 2006: maritime resources, Chinese, prehistoric, the Spanish/Mexican period and the Yerba Buena period.

The archeological site is located on Stockton Street between Jackson and Washington streets.

Per California law, all artifacts found during new construction requiring the excavation of earth in San Francisco must be properly documented.

As buildings get taller, foundations grow deeper, meaning archeologists are working harder than ever to document areas of San Francisco that haven't been seen in generations.

There is concern that, if archeologists don't document these artifacts now, they'll never have another chance to do so. At least in our lifetimes. 

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