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Cities are complex entities that are difficult to describe and analyze. Archaeology (which lies between art and science) can only access certain aspects of human life. How has urban archaeology been undertaken in New York City and what has it provided in the way of insights into city life and urban processes? Much of the recent archaeological research in New York has been conducted as part ofenvironmental compliance, with a few “research driven” projects. The processes of understanding the material record, including landscape, artifacts, faunal and archaeobotanical remains, has taken a very long time and required multiple stages of analysis. Community and descendant community interactions have been limited. I will consider what we have earned and which areas remain, as yet, inaccessible.

Nan Rothschild is Professor Emerita at Barnard College, Anthropology, and is the former director of the Columbia Museum Anthropology Program. She co-directed the first two large block excavation projects in lower Manhattan, and the Seneca Village project in Central Park. Her most significant books include: Buried Beneath the City: the Archaeological History of New York City, (co-authored), the Archaeology of American Cities (co-authored); Colonial Encounters in a Native American Landscape: the Spanish and the Dutch in North America; and New York City Neighborhoods: the Eighteenth Century.

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