19th Century Burial Remains Discovered Under Washington Square Park

kim kardashian

This week construction workers discovered the remains of at least a dozen people.

Contractors for the Department of Design and Construction were digging up a 100-year-old water main close to Washington Square Park when piles of skeletons were unveiled in the ground. The remains are said to have been buried for around 200 years.

“We were doing our work to bring three water main connections to this neighborhood and as we were digging we found a vault,” Feniosky Peña-Mora, the DDC Commissioner said, “Then it turned out there were two vaults.”

The century old graveyard measured 20 feet long, 15 feet wide and 8 feet deep. The exact age of the burial site is to be set by anthropologists and archaeologists who will be asked to investigate the vault. They will be using high-resolution photography to help identify the remains and to find out exactly how many people are in the vaults.

“The city’s policy is to leave all burials intact and in place,” archeologist Alyssa Looray said. “So we’re not going into the vault. These people were buried and we respect that and we will just do as much documentation as possible from the ground and from the small view we have.”

The first burial site contained around 10 people and the second tomb was holding about twenty intact coffins, Peña-Mora reported.

The burial will stay a conservation area, while the project of the work will continue, though only in the southern part of the burial site. New York City University buildings in the east end of the park surrounded the area of the burial site.

It has been estimated by historians that more than 20,000 people were buried underneath what is now Washington Square Park. From 1797 to 1825 the park was a public burial ground, a so-called potter’s field, a burial place for the unknown and poor.

Before being turned into a park, Washington Square Park was a military parade ground. The Park is located within Manhattan in Greenwich Village.

“It’s significant. Usually we’re dealing with broken bits of pottery and objects and we can learn so much from that and from past infrastructure. But actually being able to put names to areas and to commemorate some of those people, it’s different than seeing a name in a document. It makes it very real,” Loorya said

Image via Flickr/Doc Searls

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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