Discover The Military Facility Hidden Beneath Alcatraz Penitentiary

Alcatraz Penitentiary is one of the most storied prisons in American history. Built in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, the now-defunct institution is home to prison tours during the day and ghost hunting tours during the night. And now, thanks to a group of archaeologists from Binghamton University, another mystery has been revealed. Using laser technology the team was able to explore the ground beneath the prison’s exercise yard, and what they found might just change the way we look at Alcatraz forever.

The Naming Of The Island

a colorized photo of alcatraz island from the 1800s
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Before revealing what the team from Binghamton University found, let’s travel back to 1775 when Alcatraz Island was first given the name we know it by today. Spaniard Juan Manuel de Ayala, who claimed to “discover” the island, called it “La Isla de los Alcatraces.” This translates to “Island of the Pelicans.”

It is through this writing that we get the name Alcatraz. The island is 22 acres with two high points, one 135 feet above sea level and the other 138 feet. It is between these high points that Alcatraz Penitentiary can be seen from shore.