3. Burial Vaults of Washington Square Park

Burial Vault-Washington Square Park-Chryalis Archaeology-NYC-3Photo courtesy Chrysalis Architecture

Although Washington Square Park is known formerly to be a graveyard, two previously forgotten burial vaults were exposed this past fall in early November during a water main project of the Department of Design and Construction. According to a New York Times article, the first vault, previously opened 50 years ago yielded was partially emptied of 25 skeletons and sealed once more.

However, the second vault was found completely untouched and filled with about two dozen coffins. Some are labeled with names, like “William,” others with just an age, “18–.” The archaeologists working the site determined it to be a family. Despite the astonishing discovery, the remains were not taken out, instead they were left out of respect to the interred. The water main project was moved a few away and with that, the vault was once again sealed off.

For more information and images of the vaults, take a look at this Untapped Cities article.