Learn more about PAF here…

starLearn more about the archaeology of North 7th and Arch Streets. This mid-late 1990’s-era project was required by preservation laws in advance of building the Metropolitan Detention Center. The archaeology was conducted by archaeologists from Louis Berger Group, Inc. A booklet reporting the results was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons. (Find other Philadelphia archaeological site reports here…)


Archaeobotanical Wonders:
Plant Remains in Archaeological Site Soils

Pits and Seeds -including Cherry, Grape, Apricot, Squash/Melon, and Strawberry - from excavated soils at the National Constitution Center in Independence National Historical Park. This plant evidence was recovered during archaeological laboratory work called Flotation Heavy Fraction.  Photo provided by INHP: Lot 30L, Feature 68, N399 E215, Strat. VI, Excavation Date 12/29/2000, Depth 19.27-19.02 ft amsl, FS No. 1902.

Pits and Seeds -including Cherry, Grape, Apricot, Squash/Melon, and Strawberry – from excavated soils at the National Constitution Center in Independence National Historical Park. This plant evidence was recovered during archaeological laboratory work called Flotation Heavy Fraction. Photo provided by INHP: Lot 30L, Feature 68, N399 E215, Strat. VI, Excavation Date 12/29/2000, Depth 19.27-19.02 ft amsl, FS No. 1902.

Learn more about this ‘Artifact of the Month’ here…
(Go to Artifact of the Month index)

Pottery and Pixels archaeology teacher workshop Independence Park African American

More information/To apply download the Pottery and Pixels Flier


What do Philadelphia-area archaeologists actually do?
What do Philadelphia residents and business concerns do with archaeology?
What does archaeology do for Philadelphia?

Philadelphia Day of Archaeology

Hear from the Philadelphia-area participants, 2012-2015, here…

Go here to listen to a news story from WHYY radio (top bar) and see a slide show at the WHYY Newsworks website about the archaeology at the site of the Museum of the American Revolution (3rd and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia).
053016_dm1bury31z_1200Kensington graveyard rises from the past as developer seeks to build, Philly.com, May 31, 2016.
Tension Between Development And Preservation In Fishtown Project, CBS Philly, May 30, 2016.
(Read other Philadelphia archaeology news
— indexed by date and by site location/topic.)


The Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Arts is hosting the first major exhibition of artifacts recovered from excavations along I-95 in Philadelphia. Numbering nearly a million thus far, the artifacts reveal over five thousand years of history. Experience the archaeologists’ excitement as you explore the exhibition and discover evidence of early Native Americans, Dyottville Glass Works, nineteenth-century glassworkers and potters, and everyday life in their communities.

For Directions Go to http://www.wheatonarts.org/

Information about the I-95 Improvement Project:
437 High Street, Burlington, NJ 08016

AECOM is conducting excavations on behalf of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.


“Resilient Lives”
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania Involvement In The President’s House Site
Leslie Pinckney Hill Library
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
February 22, 2016 – Present
Resilient Lives: Cheyney University and the President's House Archaeology Site, a display at the Leslie P. Hill Library, Cheyney University of PennsylvaniaCheyney alumni played a central role in the civic actions that forced Independence National Historical Park (in Philadelphia, PA) to include a more complete and truthful narrative in their public interpretations about the birth of the American nation at the site of the President’s House (Independence National Historical Park, Philelphia, Pennsylvania). This display highlights the history and controversy of the site and the inclusion of the archaeological results demonstrating freedom and slavery in the memorial built at the location. It shines a light on the role of Cheyney alumni who fought for a commemoration of the enslaved who once lived at the site and it presents recent and current student activities educating the public about this site.Resilient LIves: Cheyney University and the President's House Archaeology Site, Leslie P. Hill Library, Cheyney University

Read an overview of the library exhibit here…

(See other Philadelphia archaeology exhibits on-line and in person.)



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, https://www.nps.gov/clg/).

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…)



The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:
Bioarchaeology and the Modern Gun Culture Debate

[*PAGES 118-119 of which report and analyze gunshot victims in the Philadelphia archaeological record, namely ca. 1750–1799 burials at the Second Presbyterian Church Burial Ground excavated during construction of the National Constitution Center and from the First African Baptist Church Burial Ground, dating between ca. 1810 and 1822, discovered in the 1990’s during construction of the Vine Street Expressway.
By Thomas A. Crist
Historical Archaeology, 2006, 40(3):109–130.

In this article, Crist considers “personal gun ownership during the early history of what is now the United States that lies at the root of the modern argument between supporters of gun control and those whose interpretation of the Second Amendment endows private citizens with the right to keep and bear arms”. Using historical evidence, including from early burials in Philadelphia, he shows that with growing gun ownership, during and after the 1830s, “an ever-increasing number of homicides (have) resulted from gunfire, particularly in the large cities” (Crist, HISTORICAL ARCHAEOLOGY 40(3):126.

Dr. Thomas A. Crist, Professor of Anthropology and Anatomy at Utica College in Utica, NY, has conducted several studies in Philadelphia.

Dr. Thomas A. Crist. Professor of Anthropology and Anatomy at Utica College in Utica, NY, has conducted several studies in Philadelphia.

Previously Director of Archaeological Services at Kise Straw & Kolodner Inc. in Philadelphia and now a consultant to AECOM Corporation, Dr. Crist has served since 1990 as the Forensic Anthropologist for the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office. He is a member of the U.S. Public Health Service’s Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT) and served two deployments assisting in the recovery and identification of victims from the World Trade Center attacks in 2001. Since 1992, Dr. Crist has been an Adjunct Professor at the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where he co-teaches an annual short course in Forensic Dentistry and Anthropology every spring. In 1994, Dr. Crist was one of three co-founders of the American Academy of Forensic Science’s Young Forensic Scientists Forum and served as the group’s first secretary.

(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…


paposter15Archaeology Month is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Inc., and the Pennsylvania Archaeological Council. Its purpose is to increase awareness of the important historic and prehistoric archaeological sites in the Commonwealth. These sites are part of the heritage of all Pennsylvanians. Everyday, archaeological sites are destroyed. We hope that through the Archaeology Month events, more Pennsylvanians become aware of this part of our history and work to protect our endangered resources.

Public Service Announcement (PSA) video
Click on the car or artifacts in the picture or click here to activate the video!
Learn more about this Archaeology Month Public Service Announcement here…