Ghosts On A Boat? That Was In “Ghostbusters II”

David Dunlap at NYT:

In the middle of tomorrow, a great ribbed ghost has emerged from a distant yesterday.

On Tuesday morning, workers excavating the site of the underground vehicle security center for the future World Trade Center hit a row of sturdy, upright wood timbers, regularly spaced, sticking out of a briny gray muck flecked with oyster shells.

Obviously, these were more than just remnants of the wooden cribbing used in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to extend the shoreline of Manhattan Island ever farther into the Hudson River. (Lower Manhattan real estate was a precious commodity even then.)

“They were so perfectly contoured that they were clearly part of a ship,” said A. Michael Pappalardo, an archaeologist with the firm AKRF, which is working for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to document historical material uncovered during construction.

By Wednesday, the outlines made it plain: a 30-foot length of a wood-hulled vessel had been discovered about 20 to 30 feet below street level on the World Trade Center site, the first such large-scale archaeological find along the Manhattan waterfront since 1982, when an 18th-century cargo ship came to light at 175 Water Street.

Emerald Catron at Asylum:

A bunch of archeologists who investigate discoveries made during construction soon arrived, and the wood began to deteriorate upon making contact with the air. It seems the bottom of the hull had been severed from the rest of the ship and used for landfill. Also found were an old shoe and a large metal collar that was possibly part of an oven.

Construction workers continued to dig even while the ships remains were being excavated nearby, so if any 18th century sea-faring ghosts do show up any time soon, at least we’ll know about it.

The Guardian:

It was hoped the artefact could be retrieved by the end of today, said archaeologist Molly McDonald. A boat specialist was going to the Ground Zero site to examine the find.

McDonald said she wanted to at least salvage some timbers; it was unclear if any large portions could be lifted intact.

“We’re mostly clearing it by hand because it’s fragile,” she said. Construction equipment may be used later in the process.

McDonald and Michael Pappalardo, an archaeologist, were at the site of the 11 September 2001 attacks when the hull was discovered on Tuesday morning.

Dan Amira at New York Magazine:

The imagination runs wild with thoughts of what events transpired to bring this ship to rest in this spot beneath Manhattan. Was it shipwrecked in a terrible storm? Could there be gold in there somewhere? Something to do with pirates? How did it get so far underground? Did eighteenth-century mole people live inside it? So many mysteries!

About the farthest [archaeologists] Mr. Mackey and Mr. Pappalardo would go in conjecture was to say that the sawed-off beams seemed to indicate that the hull had deliberately been truncated, most likely to be used as landfill material.

A 1797 map shows that the excavation site is close to where Lindsey’s Wharf and Lake’s Wharf once projected into the Hudson.

Oh.

Jamie Block at Geekosystem:

But enough about the process, what do we know about this giant boat sitting under the city? While 30 feet of hull were uncovered in the excavation, estimates place the length of the entire ship at two or three times that much. It also appears that the ship may have been rather unloved, possibly torn apart on purpose to be used for landfill. Poor ship.

But there could be a ton of facts to emerge later as archeologists get the chance to actually investigate and inspect the data they so hurriedly collected:

A 1797 map shows that the excavation site is close to where Lindsey’s Wharf and Lake’s Wharf once projected into the Hudson. So, no matter how many mysteries now surround the vessel, it may turn out that the ghost even has a name.

Its name is Robert Paulson. Here are a couple more pictures of it:

Wonkette:

Workers are excavating the World Trade Center site (Not done yet? What is this, union labor?), and on Tuesday, they found a giant 18th-century ship stuck in there. How? Well, back then terrorists were called “pirates.” (Evil liberal Hollywood has made empathize with pirates, but they were TERRORISTS OF THE SEAS.) And these pirates hated nothing more than our freedom (for white English male property owners)! So they drove their ship up Manhattan and right into the side of the Dutch East Indian Company Worlde Trade Centre.

Is that the only explanation? Perhaps the 9/11 terrorists brought a giant old ship with them on the planes they hijacked. They used to let you bring anything on an airplane.

Anyway, freedom is never free, even in colonial times, as we see here. And pirates are scum. A second ship hasn’t been found, so we can assume some patriots took their ship back from the pirate hijackers and rammed it into the middle of William Penn’s colony.

Archaeologists dug up this ship and now will probably want the government to pay them for the ye olde aesethma they contracted.

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