I-95 Archaeology

Counting and Sorting in the Lab

By Angela Garra Zhinin URS Corporation, Burlington, New Jersey USA

My day in archaeology was a continuation of a week’s worth of sorting and counting catfish bones from a household feature excavated from a site in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, USA).  I work for URS Corporation in Burlington, New Jersey and we are conducting investigations along Interstate 95 for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.  So far, I have helped sort over 11,000 fish bones from one level of this specific feature, along with some bones from other various animals.  Although we do not analyze the fish bones here in this lab, I noticed some repetition that could be presorted before being sent off for further analysis.  Judging by the amount of a certain type of catfish bone, I was able to determine that there were at least 65 catfish in this particular provenience.  It didn’t surprise me to learn that a fisherman was listed at this property in the Mid-19th Century, and these bones could possibly be linked to him and his family.

My day in archaeology was a continuation of a week’s worth of sorting and counting catfish bones from a household feature excavated from a site in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania, USA)–Angela Garra Zhinin

A Day in Cultural Resource Management

By Dan Eichinger Archaeological Supervisor URS Corporation, Burlington, New Jersey USA (Posted by the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum’s webmaster) I am an archaeological supervisor for URS Corporation (Burlington, New Jersey, USA), directing fieldwork in Fishtown (a neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) for the I-95 highway renovation project.  A day in Cultural Resource Management does not always begin in the manner most people would assume a typical archaeological project does.  For instance, overnight thunderstorms left our excavations filled with water that had drained off the overpass.  So our day began with the running of pumps and hand-bailing of rain water.  Heavy equipment was utilized to move said pumps and channelize 100’s of gallons of water away from the excavations. Eventually, our muddy archaeology day really began, wet feet and pants, aching backs, and numbed senses aside.  We investigated A-horizons beneath the shadow of the I95 overpass that were luckily left intact in spite of hundreds of years of urban development and the construction of I95 itself.  These excavations yielded artifacts that are associated with the everyday lives of glass blowers whom worked in the numerous local bottling works, which were once located along the banks of the Delaware River.  Also encountered was evidence of the area’s earlier occupants; today’s finds included evidence for Late Archaic Native American tool making activities. Dan Eichinger