The corner of 3rd & Chestnut Streets is the future home of the Museum of the American Revolution.
Right now, all that can be seen at street level is an enormous pit. But within this pit, dozens of feet deep, thousands of artifacts have been discovered, revealing the wonderful history of this old city that still lies beneath our feet.
For the past couple months, Dr. Rebecca Yamin, lead archaeologist at the site, has published a weekly update about these discoveries. For those that can make the date, every Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dr. Yamin can be found on the front steps of the historic First Bank of the United States at 116 South Third Street talking about the archaeological excavation underway across the street. (Update: The dig is over and construction is well underway at this location.)
October is Archaeology Month and in honor of International Archaeology Day on Saturday, October 18th, 2014 Dr. Yamin will be guest speaker at historic Laurel Hill Mansion in Fairmount Park, where she will discuss her team’s findings at this site and at other excavations that she’s conducted as an urban archaeologist.
The title of Rebecca Yamin’s presentation is From Chaos to Context: Urban Archaeology in Philadelphia.
While recovering artifacts from long-abandoned privies and wells is very exciting, the finds only become meaningful when they are connected to the people whose possessions they once were, says Dr. Yamin. She will discuss the urban archaeological experience from beginning to end, using Josiah Eddy, an Afro-American barber whose privies were found on the Convention Center Expansion site, as an example of a person “we get to know” through the archaeology, as well as revealing current findings at the excavation site at 3rd & Chestnut Streets.
Dr. Yamin has been doing urban archaeology in Philadelphia for the last 15 years. As an employee of John Milner Associates, Inc. she directed excavations on the sites of the Independence Visitor Center and the Liberty Bell Center on Independence Mall, on many sites in Independence National Historical Park, on Franklin Square, and on the Convention Center Expansion site at 13th Street.
Rebecca Yamin has also done extensive work in New York and New Jersey including the Five Points site in Lower Manhattan, many projects at Raritan Landing in N.J., and a major excavation in New Brunswick. She has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from New York University. Her book, Digging in the City of Brotherly Love, was published in 2008.