By Paul Kurtz

By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Excavation work has begun on a historical site at Penn’s Landing.

In the far corner of the Vine Street parking lot, a team of archeologists has carved out a 45-foot long trench. At a depth of four feet, they’ve already come upon the foundation of a 19th century structure. But that’s not what they’re looking for. Wade Catts says they plan to go deeper into the ground and into the past.

“What we’re looking for here is the West Shipyard which was a site that was here prior to the founding of Philadelphia. 1676 was the first West Shipyard.”

Built by James West, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation owns the lot and Project Manager Karen Thompson says they decided to commission the dig before moving along with development plans.

“We know that there are significant artifacts under the land and so before any decisions can be made about how that development might proceed or what it might be want to do due diligence and make sure that we find what’s here, document what’s here.”

In the 1980s, excavators uncovered portions of four wharves and a slipway north of the shipyard.

Top Content On CBSPhilly