On Wednesday workers digging at the site of the future World Trade Center in lower Manhattan made a stunning discovery: there in the muck were the remains of an 18th century wooden ship. In the above image, taken from street level, the ship's timbers stretch over 20 feet long. But the hull appears to have been cut, suggesting the boat could have easily been twice as big.
In this close up shot of the ship's deck planking, Douglas Mackey of the New York State Historic Preservation Office said the several visible bricks and metal ring may have been part of a hearth or stove setup for cooking on board. He stressed that at this point, his interpretations are preliminary. (The hose and wires are connected to a pump being used to remove water from the excavation site, and are not part of the find.)
The image at left shows the ship looking east. Mackey and other archaeologists at the site speculated that the fan-shaped timbers near the top of the image may have been the ship's stern. Deck planking and some of the hull is also visible. The image at right looks west. Construction crews were on a tight schedule and had to continue their excavation, so they simply dug around the ship while researchers collected data.
This is a close up shot of the curved ribs of the ship, poking out of the mud after over two centuries of being buried. It's difficult to say how the ship got there, but the New York Times reported the site is roughly where Lindsey's Wharf and Lake Wharf jutted into the Hudson River near the end of the 18th century. The ship may have been used as landfill to help extend the lower edge of Manhattan.
As construction continues apace around them, archaeologists scramble to take maeasurements and make drawings of the ship's skeleton. Exposure to the open air will soon rot what remains of the find, and before long shining skyscrapers will stand in its place.