82,000 artifacts found at site of new Philadelphia museum

Philadelphia is slated to have a new Museum of the American Revolution. To make space for it, the visitors center at Independence National Historic Park near Third and Chestnut streets was leveled. Underneath archaeologists found a trove of artifacts, some dating back to the Revolutionary War.


Lead archaeologist Rebecca Yamin said of the excavation, via PhillyVoice.com, “These are real people who were living right here on this site where a museum will stand dedicated to the American revolution. It just gives you a sense of the reality of the past. I always struggle with really believing and really being able to imagine life long ago. We construct it out of all of this broken stuff.”

Among this broken stuff were wig curlers, marbles, lead weights, tankards, wine bottles, and a punch bowl, thought to be from an illegal Revolutionary-War era tavern in Carter’s Alley.

This is not the first time interesting artifacts have been unearthed during Philadelphia excavations in recent years. In 2009, wig curlers dating back to 1700 were found at 712 Arch Street, the site of the Metropolitan Detention Center. Like modern curlers, these centuries-old curlers came in a variety of sizes. Some have imprints of newspapers since wig-owners would wrap the curlers in damp paper before using them to style hair.