“Think about the buildings that have been going up and are torn down, the amount of disturbance that goes into making a 300-year-old-plus city.

How in the heck can something as fragile as a Native American site be preserved in that kind of situation?

“When I came down and actually saw the Dyottville dig I was just beside myself.

native american burial sites dating back 5 000-23

Penn DOT and engineering firm AECOM began archeological excavations of sites within the 95 Revive construction zone in 2007.

So far, artifacts from industrial sites, Colonial privys, and Native American cookware over 5,000 years old have been uncovered.

An emergency, seven-day excavation led by the Mütter Institute two weeks ago to recover coffins, remains, and other artifacts sounded a familiar alarm: Why, in this World Heritage City, is so much of Philadelphia’s built history not surveyed, mapped, or catalogued, let alone protected?

At the same time, just a few blocks away, archaeologists were digging away in centuries-old privies, collecting information about the day-to-day life of the city’s forebears.

Notes from the Underground I met Doug Mooney and George Cress, another senior archaeologist with AECOM, on an overcast morning in early March at the corner of 2nd and Race.

To get to the nearby excavation site we had to walk down the expressway on-ramp, where there is no sidewalk, climb over a big pile of dirt, and slip through a gap in a fence.

Nina Versaggi, director of the Public Archaeology Facility at Binghamton University, says she encounters people who are skeptical of the cultural resource management field all of the time.

“It depends on how the economy’s going and how people are feeling.

The artifacts in and around Old City are—you guessed it—older.