Modern cities resting on old ships
The discovery this week by workers at the World Trade Center site in New York City of the remains of an old ship prompts a reminder that many modern cities are resting atop them. Abandoned ships were often used as part of the fill on which to build up and extend the land around waterways.
The practice in San Francisco prompted concern among some about the wisdom of doing this in earthquake prone areas as liquefaction can surely turn a city slurpy.
"But we do know, or every San Franciscan ought to know, that that ooze [underneath the downtown streets] is the winding sheet of many a gallant craft that once proudly plowed the bounding billows of the open sea, and which formed one of the great fleet of vessels that brought the fortune-hunters to the Golden Gate—that made up the Argonauts’ Armada of golden dreams that was soon to be scattered and strewn even as was that maritime pageant once assembled under the management of Philip of Spain." — The Armada of Golden Dreams, Walter J. Thompson.”
“Old ship hull unearthed at World Trade Center site in New York City
By Associated Press
Friday, July 16, 2010
NEW YORK -- Workers at the World Trade Center site are excavating a 32-foot-long ship hull apparently used in the 18th century as part of the fill that extended lower Manhattan into the Hudson River.
It was hoped that the artifact could be retrieved by the end of the day Thursday, archaeologist Molly McDonald said. A boat specialist planned to look at it.
McDonald said she wanted to at least salvage some timbers; it was unclear whether any large portions could be lifted intact. "We're mostly clearing it by hand because it's kind of fragile," she said, but construction equipment could be used later in the process.”