It was August 1814. Panic held New York in thrall.
After two years of incoherent fighting, the War of 1812 was being waged in deadly earnest. No longer preoccupied with the Emperor Napoleon, who had been forced to abdicate the French throne, Britain trained its full military might on the ill-prepared United States. British troops captured Washington, setting fire to the Capitol and the White House. Twilight’s last gleaming was fast approaching in Baltimore. And the enemy’s control of Lake Champlain made clear that its route to New York City would be from the poorly defended north.
Kingsbridge Road, a rudimentary highway that ran from the mainland down Manhattan Island to New York City, suddenly looked like an invasion route. Read more.
An archaeological dig at a Colonial military site in the southern Adirondacks of New York has turned up thousands of artifacts, from butchered animal bones to uniform buttons, along with a lime kiln used to make mortar for a British fort that was never completed.
The six-week project that ended Friday at the Lake George Battlefield Park also uncovered a section of a stone foundation and brick floor of a small building likely constructed alongside a barracks in 1759, during the French and Indian War.
"That’s the sort of clear-cut structure archaeologists love to see," said David Starbuck, leader of the State University of New York at Adirondack’s annual archaeology field school. Read more.
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.