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Students Dig Up Central Park's Past

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An archaeological dig in Central Park has unearthed artifacts that are helping to shed some light on the city's history.

Students from five city universities took part in the eight week dig.

It was conducted on the site of the former Seneca Village, the home of the first community of African-American property owners in New York City.

The village was established in the 1820 but was razed in 1857 to make way for Central Park.

Archaeologists have recovered 250 bags worth of artifacts such as kitchen utensils and even a toothbrush made from bone.

"When people come to the park they think it's always been this way, and actually there was a community that actually lived here before the creation of the park. And I think it brings a deeper understanding of the island of Manhattan," said Neil Calvanese of the Central Park Conservancy.

Researchers are hoping to learn more about the villagers' homes, as well as their diets and lifestyle.

"This project means so much to me personally as an African-American knowing there were individuals here who started this community three years before slavery was abolished in 1827," said NYU professor and project co-director Cynthia Copeland.

"To think that people walk here every single day and just inches below their feet, with
a whole world that existed before we even thought,," said NYU student Ashley Anderson.

Other items recovered include a toy soldier and belt buckle.

Project organizers say the goal is to one day put the artifacts on display.

For more information on the project, visit centralparknyc.org.

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