This three-hour walk takes you into the fascinating world of urban archeology, where the modern city meets its past. Accompanied by a trained archaeologist you will visit some of the city's recent archaeological sites where artifacts spanning thousands of years including up into the early modern era (20th century) have been uncovered. Along the way, you'll consider issues of preservation and development, current research, and even identity, politics, and race in a walk that uncovers some of lower Manhattan's hidden history.
Traversing the winding streets of lower Manhattan where the city was first settled by the Dutch in the 17th century, this walk takes in the most significant archaeological sites of New York, including digs in Hanover Square and the Battery. The entire area, now studded by iconic skyscrapers of Wall Street and international finance, is underpinned by a wealth of historical material, including old foundations, sewers, burial grounds, and other artifacts that together help to shape our picture of New York's history from the Colonial period to today. Our walk will also visit the city's archeology museum (closed to the public) where your docent will discuss the techniques of urban archeology, how a city becomes "buried" over time, and point out some of the more interesting objects in the collection.
The walk will also include a visit to the African Burial Ground, a current archaeological site that has delayed a long-planned expansion of City Hall and brought up all sorts of issues about history, politics, and race. It also serves to illustrate the tension between development and historic preservation that is hovers like a shadow over New York City.