Location: 17 State St., (Pearl and Whitehall), New York
In every city, old structures are torn down and new ones rise in their place. Buts bits and pieces of the old remain beneath the new. To uncover this past history, archaeologists dig through the earth in layers.
At New York Unearthed, South Street Seaport‘s urban archaeology center, you‘ll be able to piece together 6,000 years of history through dioramas and artifacts excavated from New York City‘s archaeological sites. Upstairs, you can walk through centuries of the city‘s past in minutes. Downstairs, you will find a glass-enclosed conservation laboratory staffed by professional archaeologists who are always happy to answer questions, and often invite you in! On any given day, you will find the staff processing some of the museum‘s two-million-artifact collection. They may be piecing together shards of dinnerware or puzzling out the origins of a clay pipe. Was it locally made? Was it imported from England, Holland or France? Answers to questions like these can help fill in the missing pieces of history — pieces that often cannot be found in the written historical record.
The museum also features a three-dimensional cross-section of an archaeological site that shows how the remains of the past can, and do survive even in densely populated areas. Learn why backyards are often the best places to find artifacts and how the digging of deep basements for skyscrapers can destroy valuable evidence.
New York Unearthed, South Street Seaport Museum‘s urban archaeology center, is the only museum dedicated to New York City‘s archaeological heritage.