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18th-Century Ship Found at Trade Center Site

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18th-Century Ship Found at Trade Center Site

Old 07-15-2010, 02:02 PM
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Default 18th-Century Ship Found at Trade Center Site

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...e-center-site/



In the middle of tomorrow, a great ribbed ghost has emerged from a distant yesterday.

On Tuesday morning, workers excavating the site of the underground vehicle security center for the future World Trade Center hit a row of sturdy, upright wood timbers, regularly spaced, sticking out of a briny gray muck flecked with oyster shells.

Obviously, these were more than just remnants of the wooden cribbing used in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to extend the shoreline of Manhattan Island ever farther into the Hudson River. (Lower Manhattan real estate was a precious commodity even then.)

“They were so perfectly contoured that they were clearly part of a ship,” said A. Michael Pappalardo, an archaeologist with the firm AKRF, which is working for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to document historical material uncovered during construction.

By Wednesday, the outlines made it plain: a 30-foot length of a wood-hulled vessel had been discovered about 20 to 30 feet below street level on the World Trade Center site, the first such large-scale archaeological find along the Manhattan waterfront since 1982, when an 18th-century cargo ship came to light at 175 Water Street.

The area under excavation, between Liberty and Cedar Streets, had not been dug out for the original trade center. The vessel, presumably dating from the mid- to late 1700s, was evidently undisturbed more than 200 years.

News of the find spread quickly. Archaeologists and officials hurried to the site, not only because of the magnitude of the discovery but because construction work could not be interrupted and because the timber, no longer safe in its cocoon of ooze, began deteriorating as soon as it was exposed to air.

For that reason, Doug Mackey, the chief regional archaeologist for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, was grateful for the rainfall. “If the sun had been out,” he said, “the wood would already have started to fall apart.”

As other archaeologists scrambled with tape measures over what appeared to be the floor planks of the ship’s lowermost deck, Mr. Mackey said, “We’re trying to record it as quickly as possible and do the analysis later.” All around the skeletal hull, excavation for the security center proceeded, changing the muddy terrain every few minutes.

Romantics may conjure the picture of an elegant schooner passing in sight of the spire of Trinity Church. Professional archaeologists are much more reserved.

They were even careful not to say for certain whether they were looking at the prow or the stern of the vessel, though the fanlike array of beams seemed to suggest that the aft (rear) portion of the ship was exposed. Mr. Pappalardo said the whole vessel may have been two or three times longer than the portion found.

Perhaps the most puzzling and intriguing find was a semicircular metal collar, several feet across, apparently supported on a brick base, built into the hull. Perhaps it was some sort of an oven or steam contraption.

About the farthest Mr. Mackey and Mr. Pappalardo would go in conjecture was to say that the sawed-off beams seemed to indicate that the hull had deliberately been truncated, most likely to be used as landfill material.

A 1797 map shows that the excavation site is close to where Lindsey’s Wharf and Lake’s Wharf once projected into the Hudson. So, no matter how many mysteries now surround the vessel, it may turn out that the ghost even has a name.

Readers who know a thing or two about boat-building or maritime history are encouraged to look through the slide show and offer their interpretations.


I just thought this was cool.
Old 07-15-2010, 02:52 PM
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I saw this as a lead story on Yahoo. Pretty cool!
Old 07-15-2010, 03:32 PM
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Interesting!!!

There is a photo gallery too.



Old 07-15-2010, 03:40 PM
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So that is where I put it!!
Old 07-15-2010, 08:43 PM
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Typical wood boat.
They just don't have that pollyforever thing built into them.
Old 07-15-2010, 09:24 PM
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I don't see the big deal. Sure you found something but it was something knowone wanted 100 years ago. You can bet they took anything of value off it when it went down as the Hudson river just was not that deep in that location.

How they didn't come across it during the first WTC building beets me.
Old 07-15-2010, 09:48 PM
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Here is the latest:

"The head archaeologist, Michael Pappalardo, disclosed today that a name board has been found adjacent to the hull. The name on the board appears to read "MENZIE". At this time nobody knows what the name refers to but further study is being done.
It was also revealed that the hull appeared as though it might have been ''tippy'' in design, therefore it was thought that colonists decided it should just be buried.''
Old 07-15-2010, 10:05 PM
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Ok, they found my boat, now where the hell is my dog?
Old 07-15-2010, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by 08087 View Post
I don't see the big deal. Sure you found something but it was something knowone wanted 100 years ago. You can bet they took anything of value off it when it went down as the Hudson river just was not that deep in that location.

How they didn't come across it during the first WTC building beets me.
History isn't for everyone.
Old 07-16-2010, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by 08087 View Post
How they didn't come across it during the first WTC building beets me.
They are excavating a different area. It is mentioned in the story.

"The area under excavation, between Liberty and Cedar Streets, had not been dug out for the original trade center. The vessel, presumably dating from the mid- to late 1700s, was evidently undisturbed more than 200 years."
Old 07-17-2010, 04:57 AM
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Follow-up story

Speculation And Clues

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...d-ship/?src=mv
Old 07-17-2010, 06:49 AM
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This has happenned before. NYC and San Francisco are well known for using those old hulks for land fill. When they are occsionally uncoverred they provide insight into marine architecture but seldom have any artifacts.
Old 07-17-2010, 11:18 AM
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Its cool, they always finding new stuff.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-10673322

Its funny, the english always said King Arthur and the round table
was a fable, it never happen...

Last edited by fidhhook54; 07-17-2010 at 11:32 AM.
Old 07-17-2010, 12:21 PM
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Default excavations

major cities are great places for archeaologist. i was watching them dig deep here in new orleans once, and it was just so interesting watching the work crew uncover different levels in the street and surrounding area. you could see the bricks from the old brick pavers used before the asphalt went down. there were pieces to old plates and some old glass from some type of jars. there was some old terracotta looking pipes i'm sure once had a purpose. just think, in 1000 years whatever we evolve to people will probably think digging us up in our cemetaries will be like we view digging up the egyptians in their tombs. it will probably be like hitting an untouched egyptian golden burial chamber with all the gold we put in a cemetary.
Old 07-30-2010, 06:38 AM
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Another update:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20.../?ref=nyregion
Old 07-30-2010, 07:40 PM
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That's cool. So the ship builder either marks his boats by leaving the bowl of his pipe beneath the floor or he simply broke it off and left it where it lay.

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