Maritime experts say the ships are likely scow schooners, 90-foot long wooden workhorses common during the Gold Rush times. Only one of the some 400 scow schooners currently survives: the Alma is housed at the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park.
Crews worked this week to excavate the area and examine the vessels.
Scott Baxter, the historical consultant on the construction project, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the boat frames will be measured, photographed and drawn, and wood samples taken.
Relics like shoes, pottery and bottles will be saved, but the ships will not.
Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle