Accession Number: C.2013.28.143
Dimensions: 3.125 in X 1.125 in X 0.25 in
Dimensions (Metric): 7.9375 cm X 2.8575 cm X 0.635 cm
Credit Line: Recovered from the World Trade Center site after September 11, 2001, Courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Recovered metal skeleton key coated in dirt and concrete residue.
Much of lower Manhattan is built atop landfill, evidence of the city’s growth and changing demographics. Buttons, keys, pottery shards, and other artifacts predating the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) were unearthed in 2006 by forensic archaeologists searching near the World Trade Center site for remains of 9/11 victims. During a subsequent dig in 2010, they found the remains of an 18th-century ship. When the archaeologists uncovered these premodern artifacts, they knew they had reached the Colonial strata of the site.