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

Alzheimer Society calls for helpline volunteers in Greater Victoria

Charity is in ‘urgent need’ as calls on the rise

Convicted drug trafficker asks Victoria courtroom for chance to ‘turn this around’

Horst Schirmer sentenced for convictions on five counts of possession related to trafficking

$11 million overdraw for McKenzie Interchange construction

The project has been delayed multiple times and is now estimating a budget of $96 million

French Open at Bear Mountain serves a winner

The US Open is scheduled for Sept. 3 to 8 on the hardcourts at Henderson Park in Oak Bay

Union Club of B.C. votes in its first female president

16-year member Grace Van den Brink previously served as vice president

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Most Read