Saturday, August 13, 2011

Central Park Excavation

Barnard faculty and students unearth history in Central Park excavation project
July 28, 2011

At the Seneca Village Project excavation site in Central Park, from left to right: Meredith Linn, adjunct assistant professor of Urban Studies, student intern Julianne Maedo '12, anthropology professor Nan Rothschild and student intern Madeline Landry '13 .

This summer, an excavation project has been underway in Central Park examining the remains of Seneca Village, an African-American village that was displaced when the park was created in the 1850s. Anthropology professor Nan Rothschild, along with colleagues from City College and New York Unversity, is spearheading the project, which has unearthed more than 250 bags of artifacts. "This is the most formal, coherent community that we know of, because it was laid out in a grid pattern and had three churches and a school,” Rothschild told The New York Times, in a recent article about the excavation.

For student intern Madeline Landry, a junior anthropology major, the experience has been extremely meaningful. "Part of the project is restoring the dignity of the people of Seneca Village," she said. "There is a perception that this was a shanty town, and it's been a unique priviledge to be part of the effort to set the record straight." Landry was also quoted in the Times article, regarding
a small shoe unearthed in the process.

Julianne Maedo, another intern on the project and a senior majoring in anthropology and archaeology, said, "Working in such a public space has been really fun -- people are so interested, just as they're walking by and stopping to see what's going on. Central Park is so important to New Yorkers, and it's been a great experience sharing this project with them."
Read more about the excavation project on
CNN, NBC New York, DNA Info, Gothamist, NY1 and The West Side Spirit.