This Shipwreck Found Underneath the World Trade Center May Be Older Than the U.S.

by Owen James Burke


(Photo: MAC Lab)

22 feet below current street level and just south of where the original Twin Towers stood, excavators came across these mangled bones of an old ship, thought to be a Hudson River Sloop 

While excavating for New York’s new World Trade Center in July 2010, archaeologists were finding artifacts like shoes, ceramics, glass and butchered animal bones, but things got a whole lot more interesting when the construction team struck what is now believed to be a Hudson River Sloop–about a seventy-foot, two-masted workhorse–whose keel was laid before the United States were born.

The ship was extremely well preserved by a thick layer of organic matter surrounding it, but unearthing from the oily muck produced a smell that was “an assault on the senses,” one archaeologist reported.


(Photo: Corinthian Data Capture LLC)

Pieces of the keel and hull were sent off for carbon dating, which revealed that the tree had been cut down in 1773, and was laid down shortly thereafter.


(Photo: Lower Manhattan Development Corporation)

The wood found in the keel was found to be hickory, a tree found only in the eastern United States and Asia, otherwise it’s origins might have been more difficult to trace (scientists are fairly certain it came from the U.S.).

The wood also contained wormholes, suggesting the sloop had been south to the Caribbean, where it’s likely she was sailing rum, sugar and grains up and down the eastern seaboard of the Americas. It appears that she only sailed for two or three decades before she rotted out with worms and was sent to southern Manhattan, where she became the foundation for a landfill.

 Read more on Live Science — OB

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