In July 2010, amid the gargantuan rebuilding effort at the site of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, construction workers halted the backhoes when they uncovered something unexpected just south of where the Twin Towers once stood.
At 22 feet (6.7 meters) below today’s street level, in a pit that would become an underground security and parking complex, excavators found the mangled skeleton of a long-forgotten wooden ship.
Now, a new report finds that tree rings in those waterlogged ribs show the vessel was likely built in 1773, or soon after, in a small shipyard near Philadelphia. What’s more, the ship was perhaps made from the same kind of white oak trees used to build parts of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed, according to the study published this month in the journal Tree-Ring Research. Read more.
LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (AP) — Archaeologists are excavating an 18th-century battleground that was the site of a desperate stand by Colonial American troops, the flashpoint of a massacre and the location of the era’s largest smallpox hospital.
The site’s multilayered history poses unique challenges for the dig, which is being conducted in a state-owned park that has served as a natural time capsule amid the summertime bustle in this popular southern Adirondack tourist destination.
"It’s a confusing and complicated site," said David Starbuck, the archaeologist who’s leading the project during the State University of New York at Adirondack’s annual six-week archaeology field school. Read more.
Thousands of artifacts unearthed in New York City, ranging from a Revolutionary War-era bayonet to a 19th-century douche, are finally getting a home in Manhattan.
New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission announced that it is creating the New York City Archaeological Repository for the vast collection of artifacts owned by the city.
"It’s really exciting for professional archaeologists in New York City," said Alyssa Loorya, who heads the Brooklyn-based Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants. "This is something that we have all been talking about for a very long time."
The new, climate-controlled 1,400-square-foot (130 square meters) space near Times Square won’t be open to the public, but the artifacts — some of which are more 1,000 years old — will be available to scholars and museums upon request. Read more.
Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - Goodwill Industries of Western New York receives about 50,000 pounds in donations per day…and sometimes they find something a little extra special.
"This is a vase we found in our warehouse," Dan Victori with Goodwill Industries of Western New York said.
It’s not just any old flowering pot.
"The vase could be anywhere from 1,000 to 1500 years old. A note inside the vase said it was found at the Spiro Mounds in 1970. We did research to discover that was an old Indian burial grounds," Victori said.
The vase came all the way from Oklahoma. Victori contacted the Oklahoma government, who directed him to officials with the Caddo Indian Nation. They then claimed the vase.
Victori said according to the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act, it is illegal for an organization like Goodwill to sell the vase, or other items belonging to any Native American group.
"We are going to donate that vase to their museum in Oklahoma," Victori said. Read more.
Waterloo University is set to repatriate a box of 18th-century bone fragments to a New York community that did not even know the bones were missing.
The bones came from Fort William Henry, a former British fort that was the scene of a brutal massacre of British troops by Huron warriors during the Seven Years’ War, an events depicted in the film The Last of the Mohicans.
Following a 1950s archaeological dig, the dug-up skeletons of the dead British soldiers were put on display as part of a full-scale reconstruction of the fort, which is located in Lake George, New York.
However, in 1993, local officials decided to rebury the bodies in a Memorial Day ceremony. At the time, organizers neglected to mention that some of the bones remained in archaeology labs in Arizona and Waterloo, Ontario. Read more.
LOWER MANHATTAN — Workers installing a new steam pipe on Fulton Street this fall stumbled across an archaeological treasure trove of more than 5,000 objects dating back to the turn of the 19th century.
Among the discoveries made in an old basement foundation at 40 Fulton St. were a bone toothbrush, a copper half-penny and hundreds of shards of pottery.
The range of bottles, goblets, gravy boats and dinner plates — including some imported Chinese porcelain — suggests that the home there belonged to a wealthy family with access to a wide variety of goods and foods, said Alyssa Loorya, the archaeologist who excavated the artifacts.
"It really creates a picture of what the historic area was, what life was like," she said.
Loorya’s firm, Chrysalis Archaeology, has been monitoring the city’s construction on Fulton Street and last spring uncovered a 300-year-old well on the same block between Pearl and Cliff streets. Read more.
ALBANY, N.Y. — They ranged in age from 20 to 45, stood between just over 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall, and most of them were male and intact, except for the one missing its skull.
Five years after human skeletons were uncovered on a historic island in the upper Hudson River by a husband-and-wife team of amateur archaeologists, New York state officials are revealing what professional archaeologists learned from the remains.
Evidence found in seven unmarked graves unearthed on Rogers Island in 2006 suggests the site was a military cemetery during the French and Indian War, according to archaeologists at the New York State Museum, which was contracted by the property’s owner to examine the remains. The state Department of Education, which operates the museum, recently released the archaeologists’ findings to The Associated Press.
Christina Rieth, the state’s chief archaeologist, believes the site in the village of Fort Edward likely contains a large cemetery dating back to the 1750s, when Britain established its largest fortification in North America… Read more.
OSSINING, N.Y. (AP) - A mysterious man who wandered New York and Connecticut in a 60-pound leather suit during the 19th century became a little more mysterious Wednesday.
Historians announced that all they found when they dug up the 1889 grave of the man known as the Leatherman was dozens of coffin nails.
"The Leatherman was a mystery in life and he’s going to be a mystery in death," said Ossining Historical Society President Norman MacDonald.
The grave in Ossining’s Sparta Cemetery was being relocated because it was just a few paces from busy Route 9, and recent interest in the Leatherman was bringing more visitors to his resting place. MacDonald said the grave site had become dangerous.
Accounts of the nomad’s all-leather outfit, his quiet demeanor and his regular ways - he made a 365-mile loop through the same towns about every month - have fostered interest, although his name is unknown and he died 122 years ago.
Pearl Jam recorded a song about him, “Leatherman,” in 1998 describing him as “making the rounds 10 miles a day.” Read more.