I-95 dig offers a peek into 18th-century life
He found deeds, wills, letters, newspaper clippings, maps, diaries. The material took him to the first Remer in the colonies, a German butcher who lived on Shackamaxon Street by the Delaware River in the mid-1700s.
Then came unexpected news two weeks ago: Archaeologists for the state had unearthed 25,000 artifacts from a Fishtown property once owned by his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, the butcher Godfrey Remer.
In six pits used as 18th-century Dumpsters, they found such household items as a painted pearlware bowl from England, a chamber pot, a fractured teapot. They dug up a bone button, a domino, a piece of a flute-like recorder.
They unearthed scraps from colonial meals: apple seeds, a peach pit, fish bones. And in undisturbed layers of earth, they chanced upon stone points from spears and arrows, probably wielded by Native American hunters 1,000 years ago.
All federal construction requires historical review of affected areas. In 1959, when work began on the Pennsylvania stretch of I-95, the mandate didn't exist. Now, with the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, it does.
By happenstance, archaeologists picked for their investigation a sliver of land - 10 feet wide and more than 100 feet long - by a highway retaining wall on Shackamaxon Street. They had no clue beforehand that the plot was part of the backyard of a home that Godfrey Remer bought for his shipwright son, Matthew, in 1778 in what was then called Kensington and now Fishtown.
comments powered by Disqus
- Hull of Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley Found 150 Years Later
- U.S. Textbook Skews History, Prime Minister of Japan Says
- Recalling a Film From the Liberation of the Camps
- Skull Fossil Offers New Clues on Human Journey From Africa
- Are crude conspiracies right? Research shows nations really do go to war over oil
- Ronald Suny says historians have shied away from exploring the roots of the Armenian genocide for fear of taking attention away from the victims
- Columbia University professors Eric Foner, Alan Brinkley, and Alice Kessler-Harris to retire
- A powerhouse appropriations subcommittee is now headed by a historian: Republican Rep. Tom Cole (OK)
- Slavic scholars divided over a scholarship sponsored (and withdrawn) by Stephen F. Cohen
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History