PAF Home

Learn more about PAF here… 

Learn more about the archaeology of James Oronoco Dexter here…

Glass hat, pieces of glass canes, and a Jacob’s ladder and ladder fragments discovered at the site of the Dyottville Glass Works. Photo: Archaeology Magazine, Letter From Philadelphia, by Margaret Shakespeare, courtesy of AECOM (

  Glass Whimsies By Philadelphia’s 19th Century Dyottville Glass Workers
Learn about these artifacts here…
Learn about other locally discovered artifacts here…

Philadelphia Archaeological Forum plans to make public a database of historic burial grounds in the city.


…As longtime advocates for those who can no longer speak for themselves, PAF is lobbying for clearer municipal laws that compel developers to handle such [human skeletal] remains respectfully. The nonprofit also plans to release a comprehensive database with 117 historic burial grounds in central Philadelphia, with the hopes that consulting it becomes part of the planning process for new development…..
…the earliest known discovery of unmarked human remains in Philadelphia dates back to 1743. Since 1800 there have been 85 separate, documented incidents of unmarked cemeteries in Philadelphia being impacted by construction at 52 different historic burial grounds (some had repeat offenses)…..
….Of these, 20 unmarked cemeteries have been affected since 1985 — the last time the Philadelphia Historical Commission’s ordinance was updated, granting it expanded rights to protect archaeological resources.
….It is PAF’s intention that consulting the database of known cemeteries and private family plots — the organization plans for it to be hosted on a public platform — becomes an integral part of the due diligence process for both developers and the city of Philadelphia when considering new projects. Knowing what to expect could reduce the frequency of these instances, help ensure the respectful disinterment and reburial of historic human remains at a more permanent resting place, and allow developers to plan their construction budgets and timelines appropriately…..
The database, originally the personal research of archaeologist Kimberly Morrell, has been assembled from historic maps, newspapers, academic theses and other sources. Research is ongoing, but the database is the most comprehensive such resource to date…..

Read about this database in NextCity’s story, Philadelphia Plans for Future Density Require Dealing With Historic Sites, written by Karen Chernick (October 25, 2017).
Learn more about the proposals PAF put forth in June 2017 to help solve the burial place issue in our city during the Burial Ground Forum here…
Find archaeology reports and articles about the burials found in Philadelphia to date here….
Read the news coverage about the Burial Ground/Cemetery issue in Philadelphia here…

PAF President Douglas Mooney has been named by Mayor Kenny to the city’s new Historic Preservation Task Force. The National Trust for Historic Preservation will provide technical assistance to the task force and a grant from the William Penn Foundation will support its operations. The task force begins its work in June 2017, and is to present its final recommendations by December 2018.
Read about PAF and the Mayors task force here…

BURIED TREASURE: New Discoveries in Philadelphia Slipware from the Collection of the Museum of the American Revolution. Rob Hunter, New York Ceramics and Glass Fair web page for Loan Exhibitors.

A selection of these breathtaking eighteenth-century ceramics will be revealed to the public for the first time at the 2018 New York Ceramics and Glass Fair. The loan exhibit is sponsored by Ceramics in America published by the Chipstone Foundation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A lecture by archaeologist Deborah Miller will discuss the significance of the discovery in light of their contribution to Philadelphia’s ceramic history.

The New York Ceramics & Glass Fair – the only fair of its kind in the United States that specializes in ceramics, pottery and glass from the 17th-21st centuries – celebrates its 19th anniversary, from January 18-21, 2018 at the historic Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street in New York City.

Learn more here…

Penn Museum Archives Exhibit: What in the World? 50’s TV Show on Archaeology
Through March 5, 2018.

An early popular television show now featured in a Penn Museum exhibit starred an unlikely subject and celebrity. “What in the World?”—the first network program featuring archaeology—debuted on Philadelphia’s CBS affiliate WCAU-TV in 1950 and ran for 16 years. An exhibit currently on display just outside the Museum’s Archives showcases the program through photos, original documents, and computers set up to watch episodes.

Learn more about this exhibit here…and here…. Twelve of the episodes can be viewed on line here…. The museum’s magazine, Expedition, also features this article on the show as well as its digital and archival collections related to the program.
Archaeology as part of Monument Lab MURAL ARTS
Hans Haacke: Digging (Archaeology of the Vacant Lot)- A monument to history

Monument Lab was a public art and history project produced in Philadelephia in 2017 with Mural Arts Philadelphia. Between September 16 and November 19, Monument Lab invited Philadelphians and visitors to join a citywide conversation about history, memory, and our collective future. Artists from Philadelphia and around the world were selected for their common interest in engaging living histories in their respective artworks. As a monument to the layers of history, artist Hans Haacke proposed an archaeological dig to reveal multiple hidden foundations under a single vacant lot.

Haacke, who works with monumental sculptures and installations, sought a monument that already exists beneath the surface. He requested a site for an archaeological dig in which buried building foundations, intact underground, could be brought upward for public viewing. In cooperation with the People’s Emergency Center and property owners Alvin and Sheila Bunch, the triangular lot on 42nd Street and Lancaster Avenue [is now] a site for excavation and interpretation. This single vacant lot once held seven properties, until an automobile crashed into one of the buildings in the late 1990s, causing the owner to demolish the remaining structures. Haacke’s monument imagines the former buildings under vacant lots as not just buried and gone, but as the basis for a living blueprint to link the past and present of the city.

Learn more here….
 Archaeology Supports African American History As American History
3D Scanned and Printed African American Artifacts
Now Featured in Permanent American History Display

Carved wooden boat toy attributed to the woodcutter Israel Burgoe, an African American who lived in 18th century Philadelphia. The original artifact (on loan from Independence National Historical Park) as well as a 3D printed copy of the object are part of a re-mounted permanent exhibit at the National Constitution Center. (3D rotating image courtesy of Bernard K. Means, Director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory of Virginia Commonwealth University.) Learn more and see the object rotate in 3D here…

Read about these recently discovered artifacts of colonial America’s artisanal history unveiled to the public at the New York Ceramics and Glass Fair.
Revolution-era American-made hard-paste porcelain pottery…

Ceramic specialist Rob Hunter posted on Facebook— at Independence National Historical Park. Jan. 23,  "A visit to see Jed Levin and Debbie Miller to view the newly reassessed porcelain teabowl found in an archaeological exhibit at Franklin Court. Spotted by Debbie last week, the teabowl may represent another locally made example of hard -paste porcelain pending forthcoming analysis. Exciting times!"

Ceramic specialist Rob Hunter posted on FACEBOOK — at Independence National Historical Park. Jan. 23,
“A visit to see Jed Levin and Debbie Miller to view the newly reassessed porcelain teabowl found in an archaeological exhibit at Franklin Court. Spotted by Debbie last week, the teabowl may represent another locally made example of hard -paste porcelain pending forthcoming analysis. Exciting times!”

Porcelain bowl, discovered at the site of the Museum of the American Revolution. Originally catalogued as a white, salt-glazed stoneware slop bowl with an unusual matte finish, subsequent physical spectrographic analysis reveals its composition to be true or hard-paste porcelain. (Robert Hunter)

Porcelain bowl, discovered at the site of the Museum of the American Revolution. Originally catalogued as a white, salt-glazed stoneware slop bowl with an unusual matte finish, subsequent physical spectrographic analysis reveals its composition to be true or hard-paste porcelain. (Robert Hunter)

Read about these artifacts in our NEWS section under the topicHard Paste, Revolutionary-Era Porcelain“.

Artifacts Found In Museum Site Tell Stories Of Early Philadelphia, KYW, Video (1 min. 40 seconds)

What do Philadelphia-area archaeologists actually do?

Read about a day in the life of archaeologist:

Deirdre Kelleher

who in July of 2013 was a Doctoral Candidate
at Temple University Department of Anthropology
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

See what other Philadelphia-area archaeologists actually do — and what Philadelphia-area residents do with archaeology — at the Philadelphia Day of Archaeology blogging project here…

Help the Pennsylvania State Historical Preservation Office Build A Digital Library!

Historic preservation consultants, archaeology consultants, local preservation and/or archaeology organizations, local & county planners, and historical societies, the PA SHPO needs your help! Within the next year, they hope to scan their vast library of archaeology reports, historic reports, PASS forms, and historic resource survey forms to make more material accessible. If you have digital copies of reports, survey forms, and PASS forms contact them here…
Featured University Research Project of Interest


The construction of the ‘the Delaware Expressway’ (I-95) almost 60 years ago destroyed great swaths of the oldest portions of Philadelphia –and simultaneously created preservationists who fought to save America’s birthplace. This study, submitted by Alanna Stewart as fulfillment of a Masters Degree (Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania), explores the historic fabric lost, as well as the protests and heritage conservation movement that resulted from the highway development. Archaeologists will particularly appreciate Stewart’s overview of the The Pennsylvania Historical Salvage Council organized to deal with the archaeological aspects of the highway’s impact. The development of salvage archaeology related to federal highway activity, and the early players in Philadelphia archaeology — including John Cotter and Anthony Garvin — make this a valuable report for those with an interest in Philadelphia Archaeology.

Stewart, Alanna C. (2011).The Construction of Interstate-95: A Failure to Preserve a City’s History(Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.



The recently released Philadelphia Certified Local Government Evaluation Report will be discussed at the next PAF meeting on Thursday, May 26th. The report details the findings and recommendations of the City’s historic preservation programs by the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office. This report was prepared as a routine aspect of the City’s participation in the Certified Local Government Program (CLG), which is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission in partnership with the National Park Service. The CLG program is a Federal program authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act, and is intended to engage local governments across the country in the administration of Federal and State historic preservation programs and projects. The CLG status means that the city holds responsibility for stewarding archaeological resources in certain circumstances: “Being a CLG demonstrates your community’s commitment to saving what is important from the past for future generations” (as stated on the CLG page at the National Park Service,

The evaluation of Philadelphia CLG program participation was prepared with input from several non-profit organizations with a specific interest in historic preservation, design, planning, and development issues — including the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum. The public comments reported in the evaluation include the following PAF input: 1) the Philadelphia Historical Commission lacks adequate budgetary and staff resources, including one critical deficiency identified is the lack of a professional archaeologist on PHC staff; and 8) The permit review process does not adequately protect archaeological resources

Of the Conclusions and Recommendations in this final evaluation report, one is specific to archaeology and all are relevant to the City’s adequate participation as a CLG:

5. Archaeological resources should be afforded more attention in planning, policies,procedures, and decisions. While much of Philadelphia’s land area has undergone multiple phases of transformation over the past 350 years, recent archaeological investigations along the I-95 corridor havedemonstrated that significant archaeological resources do exist. Excavations conducted as part of the highway’s reconstruction and private development have yielded sites and artifacts from Native American settlements, industrial sites, and colonial-era military fortifications. In addition, the discovery of several early and significant burial places, including Bethel Burial Ground, Potter’s Field in Germantown, and Byberry Friends Burial Ground illustrate that there places that hold tremendous historical value whose preservation enjoys significant public support buried throughout the City.

Recommendation: A qualified archaeologist should be appointed to the Historical Commission. The staff should include a qualified archaeologist or the Commission should employ an archaeologist as on call consultant for professional guidance on projects involving archaeological resources. The Commission’s Rules and Regulations should be amended to encourage/require archaeological investigation during project planning/preliminary review rather than as a condition of permit approval.

Read the Phila. Certified Local Government Evaluation Report, 2015
Read about The Certified Local Government Program (CLG) here…
Making The Museum
Created during the construction of the Museum of the American Revolution, this blog has weekly entries from the archaeology team excavating the site where the museum will be built and entires from the lab where the recovered objects are processed. John Milner Associates archaeologist Rebecca Yamin writes about their discoveries.

(Read other Philadelphia archaeology blogs here…)



(Read other Philadelphia archaeology articles and papers here…)
Digging Deep : Buried Landscapes of Pennsylvania (20:24 minutes long, the section on Philadelphia archaeology begins in minute 13 of the production)

The excavation of Philadelphia's Dyottville Glass Factory is one of the archaeology sites featured in the video, “Digging Deep: Buried Landscapes of Prehistoric and Historic Pennsylvania

The excavation of Philadelphia’s Dyottville Glass Factory, is one of the archaeology sites featured in the video, “Digging Deep: Buried Landscapes of Prehistoric and Historic Pennsylvania”, produced in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

As the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) turns 50 years old this year, it is important to recognize and celebrate the role this act, specifically Section 106, has played in Pennsylvania Archaeology.

Section 106 directs all federally-funded projects to consider the effects they may have on historic properties, including archaeological sites. Half a century of compliance with the NHPA has produced the greatest advances in our understanding of the buried past since the infancy of American archaeology in the early 19th century. This video was produced as part of the Making Archaeology Public initiative, or MAP, initiated by Dr. Lynne Sebastian, with the goal of introducing Americans to groundbreaking archaeological discoveries in Pennsylvania and in other states.

The MAP theme for Pennsylvania is “Digging Deep: Buried Landscapes of Prehistoric and Historic Pennsylvania”. This video tells the story of the great depths explored by compliance archaeologists in the Keystone State, and the amazingly well preserved record of human land use they have found here. This story is a story that could never have been told without the last 50 years of compliance with the NHPA – it’s a legacy all Pennsylvanians can be proud of!

Go here to view the video (Philadelphia Archaeology begins in minute 13 of the production).

(See other Philadelphia archaeology video’s here…)


First Pennsylvanians: The Archaeology of Native Americans in Pennsylvania
By Kurt W. Carr, PhD, Senior Curator of Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, and Roger W. Moeller, PhD

In First Pennsylvanians, Kurt Carr and Roger Moeller provide a broad, accessible, and wide-ranging overview of the archaeological record of Native Americans in Pennsylvania from early prehistory through the Paleoindian, Archaic, Transitional, Woodland, and Contact periods, stretching from 16,500 years ago to 1750 c.e. The authors present and analyze specific traits of each archaeological time period covered and use the archaeological record to provide a glimpse of Native Americans’ daily life in Pennsylvania. First Pennsylvanians also includes personal stories and anecdotes from archaeologists about their experiences in the field as well as a wealth of illustrations and diagrams. The chapters examine the environment, social groups, tools, subsistence, and settlements of patterns of Native Americans in Pennsylvania and describe how these factors profoundly affected the populations and cultures of these early inhabitants of the region.

256 pages, paperback; 124 color photos and illustrations. This Commonwealth of Pennsylvania publication can be purchased here…

Archaeologists Join the March for Science
The American Anthropological Association (archaeology’s mother field), the Society for Historical Archaeology, and the Society for American Archaeology partnered for the March for Science held on April 22nd. Local Philadelphia archaeologists participated in the Philadelphia March, one of the 500 sister marches that took place around the U.S.A. and the world. Local achaeologists work directly for federal agencies, contract to such agencies, and or conduct research funded by federal monies such as the National Science Foundation. Read about one local archaeologist, Daniel Eichinger, who was profiled on the March for Science Philadelphia Tumblr Blog here…