Coincidentally, I will be presenting a paper about the public archaeology program at Elfreth’s Alley at the conference on Saturday, January 10th. The title of my paper is Rediscovering Elfreth’s Alley’s 19th-century History through Public Archaeology. Here is the abstract for the paper:
During the 19th century, Elfreth’s Alley in Old City Philadelphia was the bustling home of a community of immigrants from across Europe. Today, however, the residential street is remembered and lauded primarily for its early colonial roots. The Alley, which was formed circa 1702 and contains 32 brick row houses, was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1960 and was later listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a notable representation of surviving, early American architecture. While the Alley is popularly referred to as the oldest continuously-occupied residential street in the United States, studying and discussing the later, post-colonial periods of occupation on the Alley is often problematic against the backdrop of the preserved, 18th-century streetscape. This paper examines how creating a public archaeology program at Elfreth’s Alley has helped bridge the metaphorical and pedagogical gap of examining 19th-century life in Philadelphia at a colonially-centered, historic site.
The conference promises to be a great, and I look forward to seeing my colleagues in Seattle! For more information about the conference check out SHA’s website, blog, twitter, and facebook page.