Touring Gotham's Archaeological Past: 8 Self-Guided Walking Tours through New York City
Diana diZerega Wall
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
This pocket-sized guidebook takes the reader on eight walking tours to archaeological sites throughout the boroughs of New York City and presents a new way of exploring the city through the rich history that lies buried beneath it. Generously illustrated and replete with maps, the tours are designed to explore both ancient times and modern space.
On these tours, readers will see where archaeologists have discovered evidence of the earliest New Yorkers, the Native Americans who arrived at least 11,000 years ago. They will learn about thousand-year-old trading routes, sacred burial grounds, and seventeenth-century villages. They will also see sites that reveal details of the lives of colonial farmers and merchants, enslaved Africans, Revolutionary War soldiers, and nineteenth-century hotel keepers, grocers, and housewives.
Some tours bring readers to popular tourist attractions (the Statue of Liberty and the Wall Street district, for example) and present them in a new light. Others center on places that even the most seasoned New Yorker has never seen—colonial houses, a working farm, out-of-the-way parks, and remote beaches—often providing beautiful and unexpected views from the city’s vast shoreline.
A celebration of New York City’s past and its present, this unique book will intrigue everyone interested in the city and its history.
Ellis Island from the island to the Battery was the final leg of the immigrants’ journey. Ellis Island, after all, was not their destination. It was only after they had stepped off the ferry in Manhattan that they had at last reached their new home in the United States. Fig. 1.9. A schematic drawing of the ferry Ellis Island Fig. 1.10. Matt Russell, an NPS archaeologist, recording the hull of the sunken ferry Ellis Island. The object to the right of the diver is a fuel tank vent. Site 7. The
health and hygiene were also enlightening. The high number of medicine bottles and such paraphernalia as syringes showed that the Pettes followed mainstream middle-class American healing practices, although they could have also used Italian folk remedies, which might have left few traces in the archaeological record. But curiously enough, the archaeologists found no toothbrushes in any of the pits. Bone toothbrushes are ubiquitous at middle-class American sites of this period; some archaeologists
did background research on another area, a few blocks to the northeast of where you are standing, in a neighborhood where professionals and merchants had lived at the beginning of the twentieth century. In both cases, the archaeologists recommended fullscale excavations before construction destroyed the sites. But in both cases, other archaeologists, working for the government agencies overseeing the projects, disagreed. They ruled that the finds would not be significant enough to justify the
fledgling pelican, still too young to fly. Pelicans do not come to New York Harbor today; their breeding range extends only as far north as Maryland’s coastal waters. The pelican’s bones told her that it was much warmer here in Woodland times than it is today. Her interpretation is supported by her colleagues, botanists Lucinda McWeeney and David Perry, who noted that the radiocarbon dates from the trash pit coincide with the Little Climatic Warming Period (ca. 1,100–700 B.P.), when drought
Continue on the ferry to Ellis Island. As you plan your visit to the Immigration Museum, be sure to save time for several archaeological stops as well. Archaeologists working at Ellis Island over the past twenty years have added new dimensions to any visit here. The first stop is the Main Building at Ellis Island. In 1984, when renovations began on this building for the new Immigration Museum, archaeologists were involved in the work. Therefore, they were ready to act the following spring when