The Journal of Philadelphia Waterfront Heritage & Archaeology

Current Issue: Volume 1 2016

Letter from the Editor

Welcome to the inaugural issue of River Chronicles, a new journal presented by AECOM’s Burlington, New Jersey, Cultural Resource Department. In River Chronicles, we will explore the deep cultural history of Philadelphia’s Delaware River waterfront through the lens of archaeology.

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Introduction

Go ahead—feel the white, long-grain texture of this paper, grasp the heavy stock cover. Flip through the pages. No, wait. Bathe in the illuminated glow of the screen, feel the smooth contours of the mouse or stylus. Touch the screen.

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Privies of the Past

The privy is one of the most common features encountered during archaeological excavations in the backyards of houses that once lined the streets of the Kensington and Port Richmond neighborhoods. Throughout Philadelphia’s history, people have used their backyards for many purposes.

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"Good for a Drink or Segar"

The excavation of Feature 312 at Fishtown’s Gunner’s Run South Site during the summer of 2012 produced an unusual artifact, the significance of which became evident as research progressed.

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Traces of Lenapehoking

Lenapehoking is the word that local Lenape (or Delaware) Indians gave to their ancestral homeland, a portion of which was located in the area that is today the city and county of Philadelphia. As used in this article, the phrase “traces of Lenapehoking” refers not only to the archaeological evidence...

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Serenading Moon Man

This unusual moon man figurine emerged from the depths of a privy during excavations in the former backyard of a brick row home at 1018 Palmer Street in Kensington. His large moon head, exaggerated facial features, and costumed human body give this figure a cartoon-like quality.

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The Golden Fleece Hotel

Within only a few years of opening the Golden Fleece (fig. 1), William Gould and his hotel found themselves in the press when members of the notorious Schuylkill Rangers gang executed a one-night burglary spree in Richmond. They ransacked several nearby stores, but when they got to the Golden Fleece, they awoke the Goulds’ dog and ran off.

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Necessary Accoutrements

Chamber pots were used indoors when people couldn't or wouldn't make it outdoors to the privy, especially at night or in bad weather. Chamber pots—nicknamed thunder mugs, pisspots, looking glasses, or guzunders (because they went under the bed)—could be plain or fancy...

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Hot Out of the Rock Oven

Archaeologists excavating Native American campsites buried beneath the I. P. Morris Co. machine shop building in Philadelphia recently discovered the circular cluster of fire-cracked rock pictured in Figure 1.

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Gardening Under Glass

AECOM archaeologists recovered this free-blown bell-shaped glass artifact during excavations along I-95 in the Kensington-Fishtown section of Philadelphia. Its shape and size indicate two possible uses. Holding the opening downward gives it the form of a bell-glass, also called a garden bell or cloche.

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Digging I-95: A “Smart” Report

The Digging I-95 interactive report is a web-based application, created by AECOM, which aims to expand the capabilities of traditional printed technical reports. Through its online format, the Digging I-95 website offers the public greater access to previously hard-to-find information and encourages customization and unique levels of interaction.

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