Executive Summary, Table of Contents, etc. (1.3 MB PDF)

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The Loma Prieta Earthquake damaged the San Francisco-Oakland freeway system and created an unprecedented opportunity for historical archaeology in the densely urban areas in Oakland and San Francisco. The West Approach to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, a project of the California Department of Transportation, involved seismic upgrades to the bridge approach in San Francisco. The Anthropological Studies Center conducted the archaeological mitigation effort. Due to the enormous quantity of data, three separate reports were prepared for the investigations: a report on the prehistoric deposit, the Block Technical Report (BTR) series, and this, the Interpretive Report.

We designed the Interpretive Report to present insights afforded by the combination of archaeological stratigraphy, material remains, and historical research. We intentionally made the content of the volume eclectic and its format visually diverse. Individual authors were given the freedom to take their interpretations in whatever directions they felt appropriate. Some studies rely heavily on quantitative, statistical data; others are qualitative; while some use the archaeological imagination to weave together fact-based stories.

The report is divided into four parts. Each part contains main essays, short essays, and sidebars. The short essays connect thematically with the main essay and are focused on specific self-contained topics. Some cover relevant historical topics, others cover purely archaeological manifestations, and others range between both sources. Sidebars present “minor illustrative material,” either of an archaeological or a literary nature, in hope to catch the general reader’s interest.