Encountering Mannahatta: The Archaeological Search For New York's Past

Author(s): Jacob S Kayen

Year: 2016


Considering the archaeological process within the City of New York and comparing two excavations from lower Manhattan landfill sites excavated thirty years apart, this paper analyzes how New York archaeology is carried out in practice, how the process has changed over time, and the capacity for the vast accumulation of material to (re)instantiate contemporary understandings of the past. How does archaeological research reflect a sociocultural disposition of the present? The dominant narrative of the past is experienced within the presences and absences of the archaeological endeavor. Overall, this is an examination of the present as it is entangled in the political exploit of uncovering the past through definition and manipulation of the rhetoric that describes it. At the crux of this argument are the questions of how the past is constructed and maintained in the present and how an institutionalized archaeology characterizes its function, purpose, effectiveness, and themes of research.

Cite this Record

Encountering Mannahatta: The Archaeological Search For New York's Past. Jacob S Kayen. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434648)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 13