In New York City, it’s not surprising there are some renown vaults holding all sorts of precious things. These include the gold vault at the Federal Reserve, The New York Times “morgue,” and the Van Cortlandt Park vaults that hid the city’s records from the British during the Revolution. Earlier this year, a new vault opened–the New York City Archaeological Repository, full of objects uncovered through archeological excavations in New York City. Previously, the items were stored separately across 13 different locations, including several universities. Here are some of the unique finds stored in this Midtown Manhattan spot, two floors beneath the street on West 47th Street.

1. A 200-year-old douche

New York Archeological Repository-Douche-Mammal Bone-Feminine Product-1800s-City Hall-NYCImage by Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants

This hollow, cylindrical object made of mammal bone was initially thought to be a spice grinder or needle case. It dates back to somewhere between 1803 to 1815, found in a garbage pile three feet underground on the north side of City Hall. Archaeologists believe all the items in this pile may come from one “celebratory event.” According to archaeologist Lisa Geiger, women across social classes gave them as wedding presents to each other, though the use and effects were somewhat misguided.

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One Response
  1. Louis H. Blumengarten Reply

    Very frustrating. All I wanted to do is to find out the address, the hours and the cost of visiting the Archaeological Repository in midtown Manhattan and I wasn’t able to get that elementary information.

    Why doesn’t the Repository have a home page?

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