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Workers Find 18th Century Ship Buried At World Trade Centre Site

No time: Workers are racing to preserve the wood before it disintegrates as it comes into contact with the open air for the first time in centuries
No time: Workers are racing to preserve the wood before it disintegrates as it comes into contact with the open air for the first time in centuries

16th July 2010

The remains of a ship dating back to the 18th century have been uncovered by workers close to the the old World Trade Centre site in lower Manhattan.

Archaeologists said the 32ft-long vessel was probably used along with other debris to fill in land to extend New York City into the Hudson River.

Those who examined the find described it as ‘significant’.

ship1
Ship-shape: Archaeologists work on the remains of an 18th century ship found buried at the site of the World Trade Centre yesterday
Rocking the boat: The discovery of the ship was made on land which was not disturbed by construction of the original World Trade Centre towers in the 1960s
Rocking the boat: The discovery of the ship was made on land which was not disturbed by construction of the original World Trade Centre towers in the 1960s

An anchor weighing seven stone was also discovered at the site, although investigators said it was unclear whether it belonged to the newly-unearthed ship.

Archaeologists Molly McDonald and A. Michael Pappalardo examined the ship when it was found by staff about 30ft below street level in a planned underground vehicle security centre.

Ms McDonald said: ‘We noticed curved timbers that a backhoe [mechanical digger] brought up.

‘We quickly found the rib of a vessel and continued to clear it away and expose the hull over the last two days.’

New site: An artist's impression of the planned World Trade Centre One
New site: An artist’s impression of the planned World Trade Centre One

The two archaeologists work for AKRF, a firm hired to document artefacts discovered at the site.

They called Tuesday’s find significant but said more study was needed to determine the age of the ship.

‘We’re going to send timber samples to a laboratory to do dendochronology that will help us to get a sense of when the boat was constructed,’ said McDonald.

A boat specialist was due at the site today to further investigate the find which is turning into a race against time after the delicate wood was exposed to air.

‘I kept thinking of how closely it came to being destroyed,’ Mr Pappalardo said.

The discovery of the ship was made on land which was not disturbed by construction of the original World Trade Centre towers in the 1960s.

The 2001 terrorist attacks destroyed the iconic Twin Towers, prompting a competition to design their replacement.

Work on One World Trade Centre, a single skyscraper originally named Freedom Tower, started in 2006.

The 1,776ft building is expected to be completed and open by 2013.

ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND HERE.

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