Urban Archaeology in Philadelphia: A Retrospective and Call to Action

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  • Documents (7)

  • Archaeology at Bartram’s Garden 1975-Present. (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Joel T. Fry.

    Bartram’s Garden, an historic garden and house protected by the City of Philadelphia since 1891, saw little interpretation or visitation for almost a century. The current revival of the site can be credited to intervention by NPS historians, archaeologists, and landscape architects beginning in the 1950s. Professional preservation and conservation advice was coincident with documentary and biographical rediscovery of the Bartrams — particularly the 1955 rediscovery of William Bartram’s sketch of...

  • Considering the Possibilities of an 'Urban Public Archaeology': The Findings of a 60-Year Retrospective of Public Archaeology in the City of Philadelphia (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Patrice L Jeppson.

    In practice, and in scholarly debate, historical archaeologists pursue urban archaeology either as the archaeology ‘of cities’ or as archaeology that is done ‘in cities’. Likewise, in practice and scholarly debate, there is variation and divergence in the definitions and terminologies related to what 'Public Archaeology' is and what it does. Drawing on the dynamic, diverse, innovative, and usually long history of public outreach and engagement in the city of Philadelphia, this talk -- part of a...

  • Dr. Jayne’s Skyscraper: The Chestnut Street Building that Housed a Patent Medicine Empire (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Meagan Ratini.

    Among the building remains uncovered during JMA’s 2014 excavations of the site of Philadelphia's new Museum of the American Revolution were sections of the granite foundations of the famous Jayne Building. This building had been called an "ante-bellum skyscraper" by Charles Peterson, who rallied to save it from demolition in the 1950s. A century earlier, the construction of this substantial building had significantly altered its neighborhood and may have also influenced the later architecture...

  • On the Waterfront: Archaeological Investigations along the Delaware River in Philadelphia (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Douglas B. Mooney.

    Since the late 1960s multiple archaeological investigations have been conducted along the city’s Delaware River waterfront – the area that forms the heart of Philadelphia’s historical social and economic center.  These excavations have succeeded in documenting sites associated with the growth and development of the city’s port facilities, the foundation of the early ship building industry, 19th and 20th century industrial expansion, as well as the working class people and families who made the...

  • A Philadelphia Patchwork: Considering Small-Scale Archaeology in the City of Brotherly Love (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Chesney. Deirdre Kelleher.

    Although many of the most well known archaeological projects undertaken in Philadelphia have been large-scale CRM projects, university-based research in urban archaeology also has a long history in the city. Recent archaeological projects completed at Elfreth’s Alley and The Woodlands reveal the contributions that two such small-scale academic projects can make to our overall understanding of Philadelphia’s urban development, and the insights that such projects offer not only into Philadelphia’s...

  • Sixty Years of Archeology in Independence National Historical Park: Learning from the Past, Digging for the Future (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jed Levin. Deborah L. Miller. Alexander Keim.

    Beginning in the early 1950’s archeologists began sifting the soil beneath Independence National Historical Park in an effort to help inform and guide the development of a new national park. Over the course of subsequent decades the formative work of Paul Schumacher, Barbara Liggett, and John Cotter, among others, shaped the park’s physical appearance, as well as the interpretive experience, for generations of visitors. In the process, these pioneers and their work played a key role in the birth...

  • A Wealth Of Data From The Lives Of The Poor – Wringing All The Information Out Of A Historic Archaeological Site (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mara Kaktins.

    When presented with the opportunity to fully excavate a site or feature, especially in an area of such historic importance as Philadelphia, there is an obligation to maximize the amount of information you can extract from the dirt.  Preservation conditions within a privy associated with the First Philadelphia City Almshouse were excellent, warranting a careful methodological approach to recover as much data as possible.  The anaerobic contexts within the water-logged feature yielded thousands of...