Archaeology is the study of the past using the objects people have left behind that tell us something about how they lived and who they were. Archaeologists have been working in New York City for over one hundred years. The initial work focused on life before the city was created and on sites associated with the Revolutionary War. In the last forty years, the focus has shifted to the study of the city itself and most archaeological work is completed by professional archaeologists in response to proposed construction projects under the oversight of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. This website provides access to many of the artifacts that have been found and what information has been uncovered. For more information about archaeology please see these Frequently Asked Questions
The Archaeology Repository is a project of the Archaeology Department of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (the “LPC”). Opened in 2014, the purpose of the Repository is to curate the city’s archeological collections and to make them accessible to archaeologists, researchers, teachers, students, and the public. Located at 114 West 47th Street in Manhattan, in space donated by The Durst Organization, the Repository currently houses hundreds of thousands of artifacts from over 32 sites throughout the city and is open by appointment to researchers and scholars. As part of this project, the LPC worked with the Museum of the City of New York from 2013-2016 to create a comprehensive database to make these collections available digitally to everyone. Currently, 15 collections have been integrated into the database and can be searched and accessed at this time. LPC plans to include the remainder as funding allows and will continue to add newly discovered collections as they become available.
The LPC is the largest municipal preservation agency in the nation. It is responsible for protecting New York City's architecturally, historically, and culturally significant sites by granting them landmark or historic district status, and regulating them once they're designated. There are more than 33,000 landmark properties in New York City including one archaeological historic district, the African Burial Ground and the Commons Historic District. The Archaeology Department is involved with the regulation of proposed changes to some landmarked sites and with work subject to environmental review regulations. LPC, which is the only city agency with archaeologists on staff, assists other city agencies in meeting their obligations to identify and minimize impacts to archaeological resources arising from city projects. The vast majority of the city's collections and artifacts are the result of archaeological work required by these requirements. For more information about the archaeological review process and the environmental review statues that require it see: The Guidelines for Archaeological Work in New York City