I decided this week that I would try to look at some things that were recent archaeological finds. Even before class today, I understood that there is still a lot of active archaeological research going on at Stonehenge, such as ground penetrating radar finding new sites and mapping stops to excavate the cursus. However, while I was looking for things that were current and interesting, I can across something that really caught my curiosity. I discovered an article about how there was a ship wreck found while construction was being done on the site of the World Trade Center.
The reason that this first caught my eye was because I had never heard about it! There was noting in the news that told me about it, and I never read it online or in the newspapers. How had I missed this piece of news back in 2010. I will admit that this is now 5 years old, but in the rand scheme of archaeology, this is a very recent find. So, I decided to read the article and it did not disappoint.
This article talks about how, while digging for construction, twenty-two feet below street level there was a shipwreck found. This ship was made from white oak, and researchers concluded that it most likely came from the Philadelphia region. There were many different aspects that went into this conclusion.The first thing that the archaeologists had to do was quickly excavate the site, which sounds strange because we learned that when you are excavating a site, you need to take your time. Yet, this was a different circumstance because due to how the ship was found, in an almost mud like dirt, the ships remains were not used to the air, and so in order to preserve the ship, archaeologists had to quickly get it out of the ground and then preserve it in water.
Then, there was the fact that they had to somehow date this ship. How they went about doing that was by counting the tree rings, since it would logically be too young for carbon dating.They sent it to the Tree Ring Laboratory at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York. This is how they decided that they ship was constructed roughly around 1773. Another thing that they found through looking at the rings of the wreck was where the ship might have bene build. Because it was white oak, they were able to limit the regions where it could have been build to the East coast of America. And then with tree ring records, specifically the ones from city hall in Philadelphia, they were able to determine that it was built in Philadelphia. This also made sense because of historical records of ship building going on there.
And after figuring out where the ship was from and when, they decided to find out why the ship was where it was found? Had it crashed into the coast? What had happened to this ship? They came up with two theories One says that it could have just crashed. Another is that it was used as landfill for Manhattan, since in the wood, there were shipworm damages found in its hull. This means that the ship would not have lasted as long as it should have, and so was used to create Manhattan instead of just wreck from the shipworms.
If you would like to read the article or look at the pictures of the excavation that go along with it, look at the following link. http://www.livescience.com/47026-origins-world-trade-center-ship.html