Many of the greatest archaeological discoveries have been made at ancient burial grounds but, occasionally, the tombs themselves are the most interesting parts of an excavation. In many cases, ancestors from the past are buried then forgotten over time until circumstances lead to their rediscovery.
10. The Presbyterians Beneath New York
In 2015, workers in New York City were digging up Washington Square East so they could install a water main. While digging up the foundations, they discovered a large empty space filled with human remains.
In the 1800s, two-thirds of Washington Square Park was a potters’ field, and the remainder was a cemetery for a small Presbyterian church. After another vault was discovered, archaeologists came in to excavate the sensitive area. While the area is now in the middle of Manhattan, at the time of many of the burials, it was in the outskirts of the city, and they were soon forgotten as the city began to expand. The tombs were encountered once before around 50 years ago by workers but they were again forgotten.