Saturday, July 17, 2010

New York City: 18th Century Ship Dug Up

"Ship Buried in 18th Century Unearthed at WTC Site"
FOXNews (July 15, 2010)

"Workers at the World Trade Center site are excavating a 32-foot-long ship hull that apparently was used in the 18th century as part of the fill that extended lower Manhattan into the Hudson River.

"It's hoped the artifact can be retrieved by the end of the day on Thursday, said archaeologist Molly McDonald. A boat specialist was going to the site to take a look at it...."

"...The archaeologists are racing to record and analyze the vessel before the delicate wood, now exposed to air, begins to deteriorate.

" 'I kept thinking of how closely it came to being destroyed, [archaeologist A. Michael] Pappalardo said.

"A 1797 map shows that the excavation site is close to where Lindsey's Wharf and Lake's Wharf once projected into the Hudson, the New York Times reported."

There's more to the article: including a photo of what's left of the ship.

Researchers plan to analyze the timbers to get a better idea of how old the wood is. A 100-pound anchor was found nearby, but that might have been from another ship.

A few cubic yards of rotting wood may not seem like much: but archaeologists can pull a lot of information out of an artifact like that. And, working with historians, fill in some of the blanks in our understanding of New York City's history.

America's urban settlements are nowhere near as old as Europe's: but people have been building fairly extensive towns and cities on the east coast for several hundreds of years now. We don't have anything with quite the romantic appeal of the sewers of Paris, yet: but we're working on it.

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