PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — PennDOT is finding a trove of historic artifacts beneath I-95 in Port Richmond and Kensington, where it’s constructing a new Girard Avenue interchange, and neighborhood residents got a chance to take a look at them Wednesday night.
The one-night only display at a local church drew hundreds of people to see some items that date back approximately 4,000 years.
“Amazing. Fantastic. Truly incredible.”
Those are some of the words uttered by some 200 people living in Port Richmond and Fishtown who saw the archeological and historical discoveries unearthed during construction on I-95.
“Native Americans lived in this area for at least 10,000 years. We’ve got artifacts that date back at least 4,000,” said senior archeologist Doug Mooney.
Arrowheads and stone tools dating back to 4,000 BC; pottery, buttons and toys from the 1700 and 1800’s are among the dozens of items that Mooney and his team have uncovered in the past two years since PennDOT broke ground for the new interchange.
Fishtown resident Loretta Wallace says the ancient pieces from the 17th century are breathtaking.
“I expected to come and see little tiny chips and people telling me what they are, this is huge,” said Wallace.
The 4,000-year-old arrowheads were discovered at Cumberland and Richmond Streets. Bottles from another time period with President George Washington’s face on it were discovered a few blocks away.
Archeologist James Burton says finding the treasures have been a career highlight.
“It’s really incredible to be the first person to see it since it’s been used since the last person. So to feel that connection between you and the past person is incredible.”
The artifacts are from four locations; Port Richmond, Fishtown, Kensington, and Northern Liberties.
The discoveries were made while PennDOT rebuilds three miles of I-95 from Race Street to just south of Allegheny Avenue.
Reported By: Dave Huddleston, CBS 3; Pat Loeb, Newsradio