12/07/2011 06:04 pm ET | Updated Dec 08, 2011

Transbay Archaeology Exhibit: SOMA Construction Unveils Preserved Gold Rush Artifacts (PHOTOS)

Just like we all learned from Encino Man, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority recently discovered that the best treasures are often found when you aren't looking for them.

While excavating the SOMA site of the new Transbay Transit Center -- hoped to become the "Grand Central Station of the West" -- the Joint Powers Authority discovered an enormous collection of preserved artifacts from the 19th century Gold Rush era buried beneath the soil. Included in the findings are apothecary jars, glass soda and liquor bottles, ink wells, ceramic dolls and toothbrushes, among other things, revealing a look at life in 19th century San Francisco.

To celebrate the findings, the Authority is displaying the collection of artifacts in a Transbay Archaeology Exhibit in the lobby of the 201 Mission Street headquarters. Stop by the exhibit, and check out a few photos in our slideshow below, courtesy of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority.