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Digging Through Ancient Trash Behind Elfreth's Alley

Elfreth's Alley, widely regarded as the oldest continually occupied street in the nation is undergoing archaeological investigation of the tenements that once stood behind the narrow rowhomes on the street.

The project is investigating two tenement houses which were built as extensions to rowhomes in the 19th century. Temple doctoral candidate Deirdre Kelleher is looking at the history of day-to-day life of German and Irish immigrants who lived there, primarily by digging up their trash.

Though the project is intended to discover artifacts that will help Kelleher understand the economic mobility of tenement residents and their involvement in temperance movements, she also wanted to involve the public in the dig. She enlists volunteers to help dig, and to help complete the lab work on the artifacts she finds, and documents their work on her blog.

· Archaeology on the Alley [Kelleher's Project Blog]
· Elfreth's Alley backstory yields clues to life of Philly immigrants [Newsworks]

Temple University

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