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Beneath the modern city of Philadelphia lie countless clues to its history and the lives of residents long forgotten. This intriguing book explores eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Philadelphia through the findings of archaeological excavations, sharing with readers the excitement of digging into the past and reconstructing the lives of earlier inhabitants of the city.
Urban archaeologist Rebecca Yamin describes the major excavations that have been undertaken since 1992 as part of the redevelopment of Independence Mall and surrounding areas, explaining how archaeologists gather and use raw data to learn more about the ordinary people whose lives were never recorded in history books. Focusing primarily on these unknown citizens—an accountant in the first Treasury Department, a coachmaker whose clients were politicians doing business at the State House, an African American founder of St. Thomas’s African Episcopal Church, and others—Yamin presents a colorful portrait of old Philadelphia. She also discusses political aspects of archaeology today—who supports particular projects and why, and what has been lost to bulldozers and heedlessness. Digging in the City of Brotherly Love tells the exhilarating story of doing archaeology in the real world and using its findings to understand the past.
Ch. 1 Beneath the Symbolic Surface 1
Ch. 2 Hudson's Square: The Middle Block of Independence Mall 15
Ch. 3 An Icon and an Icehouse: The First Block of Independence Mall 39
Ch. 4 Artisans in a Changing World 59
Ch. 5 "We the People": The Free Black Community, Native Americans, and the Celebration of the Constitution 78
Ch. 6 Life and Death in the Nineteenth-Century City 99
Ch. 7 On the Waterfront 120
Ch. 8 An Archaeological Walk in the Eighteenth-Century City 139
Ch. 9 An Archaeological Walk Through Nineteenth-Century Neighborhoods 167
Ch. 10 The Legacy of William Penn and the Power of the Past 187