After the existing buildings were demolished, the archaeology team began their excavations of the 1.5 acre site.¬† Instead of trowels and brushes, the crew worked with skilled backhoe operators to successfully locate 13 brick water wells and privies. Buried up to 26 feet beneath Fifth Avenue – amidst a sea of rock, concrete and metal – were fragile hand painted dolls, delicate French urns decorated with gold, a sash pistol, and thousands of other unique objects. The last time these artifacts were seen, canal boats entered Pittsburgh on a watered viaduct and Native Americans Indians hunted buffalo across the Plains.
Back in the laboratory, as archaeologists carefully cleaned and identified the artifacts, an unknown and extraordinary chapter in the city‚Äôs history was revealed.¬† Discovering the relationships between these artifacts and written history created a new perspective of the lives and work of those who once occupied the space where Three PNC Plaza now stands.¬† The chronicle of this excavation documents their place in history, a time when Pittsburghers shaped a frontier village into a great city.
See the artifacts in person on permanent exhibit in the new Fairmont Hotel Pittsburgh‚Ä¶.