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175 Water Street to Washington Square Park: is flexibility the key to urban archaeology?

Author(s): Joan H. Geismar

Year: 2014

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Thirty years ago, during what could be called the ‘Golden Age’ of New York City archaeology, I served as PI on a block-wide urban project in Lower Manhattan. The field methods were traditional, albeit with the help of a backhoe, and the findings spectacular. Three decades later, as ‘Project Archaeologist’ for the reconstruction of a park in historic Greenwich Village, the archaeology relied even more on heavy equipment and was limited to monitoring or testing associated with the introduction of infrastructure. Although both projects were carried out under the advocacy of New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission and both followed established environmental laws, urban archaeological practice has apparently become more flexible. Moreover, it has become clear that historical research, before and after fieldwork, is a precious tool available to the urban archaeologist. While the restraints of time, of money, and of extentabound, the findings in an urban context continue to be both valid and rewarding.

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175 Water Street to Washington Square Park: is flexibility the key to urban archaeology?. Joan H. Geismar. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437378)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-82,06

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America