Archaeologists have successfully located the remnants of Seneca Village, a 19th century village (and New York City’s first community of African-American property owners) located in what is now Central Park. Over two months' time, scholars from Barnard College, City University of New York, Columbia, and NYU led an excavation, which officially ends today. Click through from some of the first photos being released from the big dig. Here's a little background from the group:
Seneca Village was located inside of today’s Central Park between 81st and 89th Streets and 7th and 8th Avenues. The community included three churches, with one of the congregations being racially-integrated. A village school was located in the basement of another church. It was razed in 1857 to allow for the construction of the Park.
Today’s Seneca Village Project included 10 years of preliminary research, including the excavation of historic documents, soil analysis, and ground-penetrating radar.
Project archaeologists identified and excavated artifacts, including a stoneware beer bottle, kitchen utensils, a toothbrush handle carved from bone, and clothing remnants from the home of a Village porter and sexton, William G. Wilson. Ceramics and the bones of butchered animals were excavated near the home of a villager named Nancy Moore.
Central Park Conservancy President Douglas Blonsky supports the project, saying, "What this land was 158 years ago is as important as what it will be 158 years from now, and we’re proud to help New Yorkers know this land and its history more fully.”