5. 18th Century Bottles in Lower Manhattan

Artifacts uncovered at 50 Bowery in an archeological excavation. Photos by Chrysalis Archeological Consultants

Lower Manhattan has been the site of much of NYC’s colonial history. An interesting addition (though not surprising) is alcohol. An excavation at 50 Bowery by Alyssa Loorya of Chrysalis Archaeology, before the current hotel was constructed yielded a treasure trove of bottles and other artifacts. Check many of them out here.

Also in Lower Manhattan, The oldest surviving bar in the city today is said to be The Bridge Cafe, existing since 1794. But these bottles go back a little further to taverns that no longer exist. In 2012, during a four month excavation project beneath the stretch between Fulton and Water Street, over 100 18th century liquor bottles were unearthed.

According to Loorya, who also handled the excavation at this site, the area in which the bottles were found was the site of a few taverns used to entertain passing sailors. Although no engraved names or labels are found on the bottles, Loorya explains that they were probably reused and refilled multiple times with liquors like wine or rum.

At over 200 years old, the findings a combination of intact, corked bottles and broken ones, and although the liquor has long since evaporated, the trove depicts the more merry atmosphere to bustling colonial Lower Manhattan.

Interested in more archaeological finds the city has to offer? Check out these highlights from the NYC Archaeological Repository. Get in touch with the author @verazvo.