Uncovering a Small Town (and Some Tall Tales) (NY)
That is the year, at least according to Geert Hautekiet, the man in charge of exhibiting the site, that the United States Army, which then controlled the island, ordered a small, obscure civilian community there to be evacuated during the approach of a dangerous electrical storm. All of the buildings and houses in the town, Mr. Hautekiet said, were then inexplicably buried under sand by the military, which later appeared to deny that the village had ever existed.
The town, known as Goverthing — which strangely has never appeared on any New York City historical maps or been noted by a single historian — is said to have been stumbled upon during recent demolition work on the island, which New York City and New York State have jointly controlled since 2003, seeking to develop it as a recreational, historic and artistic destination.
It was then, the story goes, that a team of Belgian archaeologists was summoned to uncover pieces of the unlikely — indeed, almost unbelievable — community that, before it was evacuated, numbered only 29 residents, many of Belgian and French descent, whose livelihood centered on a small factory in town that capitalized on a once-thriving international market for snow globes.
The archaeologist credited with supervising the dig could not be reached for comment this week, and the Web site of the Belgian university where he is said to work shows no record of him. But Mr. Hautekiet, who described himself as an exhibition specialist dispatched from Antwerp to oversee the display of the site — he has a long background in unconventional guerrilla theater and sly conceptual art in Belgium — recently showed a reporter some of the more unusual items recovered.
comments powered by Disqus
- Parsing Ronald Reagan’s Words for Early Signs of Alzheimer’s
- Here's a look at history of 'religious freedom' laws
- ‘Hamilton’ Puts Politics Onstage and Politicians in Attendance
- Earth Tectonic Plate Simulation Reveals Our Planet Has Changed A Lot In 200 Million Years
- For G.O.P., Support for Israel Becomes New Litmus Test
- History's Grandin Wins Bancroft Prize for "The Empire of Necessity"
- Nobel prize-winning scientist writes a history of science
- Ken Burns tackles history of cancer
- If historians have their way, Americans will soon learn how important religion has been in US history
- Role-playing history game gets students jazzed