MONMOUTH, Ill. – Today, we are reminded of the year of the start of the California Gold Rush of the 1800s by the name of San Francisco’ s National Football League team, the 49ers.
But two years after 1849, a “floating city” of ships that linked San Francisco to the global economy was destroyed by fire.
At a March 26 archaeology lecture at Monmouth College, James Delgado of SEARCH, Inc., will speak about the ships, buildings and cargoes entombed beneath 25 feet of mud and sand along San Francisco’s waterfront, following a massive fire on May 4, 1851.
Titled “Gold Rush Pompeii: Unearthing the Buried Ships and 19th Century Waterfront of San Francisco,” the lecture will be presented at 7:30 p.m. in the Pattee Auditorium on the lower level of the college’s Center for Science and Business.
Delgado will recount stories of the ships and the times, the archaeological discoveries of amazingly well-preserved artifacts and entire ships, and his personal participation in most of the digs over the past 37 years.
Delgado will also speak at 7:30 p.m. March 27 at Knox College’s Seymour Hall. The title of his lecture there will be “The Great Museum of the Sea.”
Free and open to the public, the archaeology lecture series is sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America Western Illinois Society and the College’s Department of Classics.