Mysterious Ship Found in World Trade Center Ruins Is From the 1700s
Researchers have discovered the origins of the ship that mysteriously emerged from the ruins of the World Trade Center in 2010.
Four years ago this month, construction at the Ground Zero construction site was halted when workers uncovered a massive wooden ship 22 feet below the street's surface. Work was put on hold for weeks while the boat was excavated and taken to the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory, and later Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory for further analysis.
After analyzing samples from the ship, tree ring scientists at Columbia University concluded that the wood on the vessel originated from a forest of White Oak trees near Philadelphia, which was chopped down around 1773.
"We could see that at that time in Philadelphia, there were still a lot of old-growth forests, and [they were] being logged for shipbuilding and building Independence Hall," Dario Martin-Benito of Columbia’s Tree Ring Lab told Live Science. "Philadelphia was one of the most — if not the most —important shipbuilding cities in the U.S. at the time. And they had plenty of wood so it made lots of sense that the wood could come from there."
Researchers have tentatively identified the ship as a Hudson River Sloop, a Dutch ship designed to navigate shallow, rocky water. Archaeologists believe that the ship was in service for 20 to 30 years before it was docked one block west from Greenwich Street in Manhattan.
The ship was ultimately buried by trash and other landfill in the late 1700s. Historians do not know whether the ship was accidentally submerged or if it was sunk by the city to expand the shore of Manhattan further into the Hudson River. The ship was likely completely covered by 1818 and did not reemerge until after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The clay-rich soil sealed the ship in an oxygen-free environment that likely prevented decay and kept the ship well-preserved, according to Archaeology Magazine.
Archaeologists have also found hundreds of other artifacts from the 18th century during the excavation of Ground Zero, including ceramic dishes, bottles and shoes, but uncovering the ship paved the way to find out the date of those artifacts.
*Original story Mashable via Google News (search term:ship)
*Image credits: Wikimedia & Flickr/Bob Jagendor
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