Environmental Services Zinfandel Shipwreck, Prospect Island Tidal Habitat Restoration

On September 5, 1922, the stern wheel steam ship Zinfandel foundered while travelling up the Sacramento River near Miner Slough. According to a report in the Oakland Tribune, she “struck a snag and is now resting on the bottom of the river with a hole stove in her timbers.” Due to the potential historical significance of the Zinfandel shipwreck, FRP hired archeologists to perform a sidescan sonar and magnetometer survey of Miner Slough. Underwater archaeology and historic resources specialists closely examined the survey data to ascertain whether submerged remnants of Zinfandel are located in the Area of Potential Effect for the levee modifications planned as part of the Prospect Island Tidal Habitat Restoration project.  

Built in 1889, Zinfandel was 125 feet long, and had operated on routes throughout the San Francisco Bay and delta region, hauling passengers as well as fruit and other commodities. However, at the time of her sinking, the Oakland Tribune reported that she was considered “rather small for any trade, also her age is against her.” Furthermore, “it is doubtful if she will be repaired, but her engines and boilers may be removed and brought here.”  

The sonar survey utilized newly introduced CHIRP technology to paint a highly accurate picture of subsurface conditions in the lower portion of Miner Slough, while the towed magnetometer recorded disruptions in the earth’s magnetic field caused by nearby ferrous (iron-based) objects. The field surveys were combined with historical research of maps, newspaper reports, and other records to ascertain the likelihood that wreckage from Zinfandel still exists in Miner Slough near the Prospect Island Tidal Habitat Restoration project site.  

Archeological Surveying, Cultural Resources, Mitigation Monitoring, Historical Research