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82K Artifacts Unearthed at Museum of the American Revolution Site

From really old buttons to a prized punch bowl

Well this is awesome: Archeologists have unearthed some 82,000 artifacts dating back to the 17th century at the Museum of the American Revolution construction site on 3rd and Chestnut streets.

A team of archeologists with John Milner Associates has conducted fieldwork at the site since July 2014 and have been documenting their findings in weekly blog posts. They've unearthed everything from mid-18th century pottery from a tavern on Chestnut Street to granite foundations of the city's first skyscraper, a patent medicine business.

But the team's "most treasured findings" were fragments of a English delftware punch bowl. Pieced together, the bowl features an illustration of the British Triphena ship and the words, "Success to the Triphena" It dates back to around the American Revolution.

"Cities are constantly rebuilding themselves, and the construction of this new museum – right in the heart of the oldest part of Philadelphia – provided us with a rare opportunity to examine the things left behind by the people who lived and worked there, in order to learn about how the city began and how it changed," said lead archaeologist Rebecca Yamin, Ph.D., in a press release.

One thing they've learned is that the site and its surroundings were mostly residential in the 17th century and later became more commercial. That's apparent through the discovered print type, which dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries when print shops lined Carter's Alley, and buttons from a George Lippincott's button factory, which dates back to 1913.

The items they've discovered that relate to the American Revolution will be on display at the museum when it opens in spring 2017. All of the other artifacts will be donated to the State Museum of Pennsylvania.