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The Project "The City Hall Park Project"

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Elizabeth Martin working at the Brooklyn College Archaeological Laboratory, and Sophia Perdikaris working with students at the Brooklyn College Zooarchaeology laboratory

The City Hall Park Project is an ongoing analysis of the archaeological collection from excavations at City Hall Park. With a small grant from the City of New York, upper-level undergraduate and graduate students from Brooklyn College, Hunter College, and the City University of New York Graduate Center have been conducting the laboratory work on this collection.

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Jennifer Borishansky in the zooarchaeology lab

Students are interviewed and complete an archaeological laboratory methods course before joining the project. Several of the students working on the project are currently proposing masters theses based on the collection.

During the 2001-2002 academic year, the materials that had been stored in a warehouse were unpacked, stabilized, and washed. At that time, an initial sort and count were done and the materials were repackaged in archival boxes. Lab work since then has consisted of cataloguing and analysis, which has contributed to preliminary data regarding the collection.

Initial funding from the city will allow basic analysis and production of a project report. External funding will be sought to further the research goals of the project.

Among the topics the project hopes to explore over the long term are:

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Kate Krivogorskaya analyzing artifacts

  • Use of the park through time. The 1999 renovation is the latest in a series of adaptations of this civic site. Archaeology will inform the public about the documented and undocumented historic conformation of the park over the last three centuries.

  • The civic institutions situated in the park. We will investigate how people of different social and economic classes utilized this public space through time.

  • The British presence in Revolutionary War-era New York. Occupied New York was the British headquarters for much of the Revolutionary War. The archaeology of City Hall Park can speak directly to the conditions and connections of the occupiers, prisoners of war, and the poor.

  • New York as a center of international trade and commerce in the eighteenth century. Artifacts from City Hall Park may demonstrate this growth and the place of New York in the local and global economy.

  • Eighteenth-century pottery manufacture in New York City.

  • Distinction among the ranks of British units stationed in City Hall Park during the Revolution.

[image] Artifacts drying after being washed [image]

Public Outreach

In addition to presenting a comprehensive report on the archaeological collection, the City Hall Park Project hopes to undertake a public-outreach program making historical information available to the larger community. This outreach will include a web site and may take the form of exhibits utilizing materials found at City Hall Park ranging from those of general historic interest such as life in occupied New York; life for the poor in the eighteenth century; and trade and commerce in early New York. More specific exhibits are planned (e.g. British firearms in the Revolutionary War), brochures for tourists, especially visitors to City Hall Park and the Tweed Courthouse, are also envisioned.

Intro | Excavation | Project | Artifacts | Almshouses | Bridewell & New Gaol | Revolution | Potters

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© 2007 by the Archaeological Institute of America
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