Archaeology is the study of the past using the objects people have left behind that tell us something about how they lived and who they were. In New York City, archaeologists use the wealth of available historical documents including maps, tax and census records, wills, newspaper articles and books to locate sites, help refine research questions, and to interpret the results. Major archaeological sites in New York City include the:
• Battery Wall found in Battery Park in Lower Manhattan
• African Burial Ground and the Commons Historic District in Lower Manhattan
• Conference House Park in Staten Island
LPC's Archaeology Department was founded in 2002, but the Commission staff has included an archaeologist since the 1980s. The department currently consists of four professional archaeologists who review proposed subsurface work subject to environmental review regulations and, for some sites, the Landmarks Law. The department then oversees any ensuing archaeology, and, if important archaeological resources are discovered, the department determines and oversees appropriate mitigation. All of the archaeological reports completed through this process are available online.
LPC has developed Guidelines for Archaeological Work in NYC to help applicants and professional archaeologists better understand the review process.
The Archaeology Department also manages the New York City Archaeological Repository: The Nan A Rothschild Research Center which curates thousands of archaeological artifacts found throughout the City and ranging in age from thousands of years ago to the 19th century. Please visit the Center’s website for more information about the repository, its collections, and how scholars may make an appointment to visit.