Archeologists find artifacts dating back to 1800s in Utica


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A team of archeologists have uncovered artifacts dating back to the mid 19th century along Utica's arterial. The archeologists from Albany are looking at 6 sites around the city before the land is torn up for the upcoming arterial project.

On Thursday over a dozen archeologists were searching through soil in what had been a small parking lot along the Route 5, 8, 12 arterial. The small plot of land had been covered by asphalt, now the the archeologists are interested in what's been kept underneath for centuries.

"Previous work has shown that there was a stone work shop here at one point closer to the back part of the property and we wanted to investigate the potential for local industry and the history of it," said Sean Higgins Project Director.

Higgins says they've now discovered that a restaurant may have also been there, finding artifacts that associate with both.

"Relating to the stone workshop we're finding a lot of what's called spall it's the remnants of stone that is knocked off from larger pieces to shape the stone," said Higgins. "For the restaurant we've found a lot of cut bone and burn bone and broken glassware and a couple broken shot glasses and old liquor bottles things like that."

But the clues do more than just confirm what the team thought was there before, the hundreds found, all give insight to how Utica's working class in Utica once lived.

"Utica back many decades was a bustling city and was only on the rise for a while with all the local industry," said Higgins. "What makes this particularly interesting is we get to look at low level smaller economy local small businesses and how they contributed to this the growing economic prowess that was once Utica."

The archeologists say the fact that the site had been covered in asphalt helped them out.

"Once that was removed nothing had been altered here in over that amount of time so it gives us a unique look at undisturbed soils that haven't been tainted by recent road work or recent utility work," said Higgins.

The team will bring any artifacts found back to Albany where they'll be processed and catalogued at the State Museum.

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