About This Report

Today’s pieces of Philadelphia’s long and vibrant history are visible all around us. However, much more of the city’s historic legacy remains buried in the ground beneath our feet, still waiting to be discovered. This buried history, in the form of archaeological sites hundreds or even thousands of years old, can be found all around

Environmental Data

The I-95 project is situated within the Coastal Plain physiographic province, which borders the Delaware River in southeastern Pennsylvania. The boundary of the Piedmont Plateaus province is from two to nine miles west of the river. The Piedmont and Coastal Plain meet at the Fall Zone, which represents a boundary between the two different ecological settings and was likely an attractive location for Native Americans because of the wide variety of resources available. The predominant geologic material on the Coastal Plain consists of Quaternary-age deposits largely dating to the Pleistocene. Younger Holocene landscapes no doubt once existed a quarter mile or more to the southeast beyond the present river shoreline, but these have long since been destroyed or inundated by rising sea level and the marine transgression that has produced the tidal estuary that now exists. Of great importance to Native Americans were the highly productive, interior wetlands associated with local drainageways that typically characterize most undulating Coastal Plain landforms. With the rising tidal transgression these wetlands eventually shifted to marshland.

General Methods

Introduction The following document outlines URS’ plan for the investigation of construction impacts to archaeological resources within the I-95/GIR project area in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This plan describes the broad types of archaeological resources/deposits known or likely to exist within the project Area of Potential Effects (APE), the specific methodologies to be employed during the investigation

Historic Context

The history of the Aramingo Canal began with a meandering tidal stream located no more than three miles from the bustle and congestion of William Penn’s Philadelphia. Sometimes referred to as “Three-Mile Run,” but better known by the name “Gunnar’s Run,” this stream was transformed in the mid–nineteenth century into a navigable public highway christened the Aramingo Canal. The canal was initially conceived as a means to help develop the Kensington/Port Richmond vicinity into an industrial and commercial center. The close proximity of the region to shipping facilities along Philadelphia’s Delaware River waterfront—and to the newly installed Philadelphia and Reading Railroad Company in what is now Port Richmond—was strong incentive for local businessmen and landholders who sought to increase the value of their land. Unfortunately, a lack of funding, poor management, and rapid changes in the infrastructural needs of the burgeoning community resulted in the relatively swift demise of the waterway and its ultimate removal from the visible cityscape after a period of only about 50 years.

Native American Context

In order to better understand the changes evident in Native American archaeology over the past 16,000 years, archaeologists have developed temporal frameworks, or chronologies, to divide Middle Atlantic prehistory into periods defined on the basis of diagnostic tools, ceramics, inferred cultural adaptations, associated radiocarbon dates, and settlement patterns. Over the past few decades, the basic Middle Atlantic chronological framework has evolved through an assortment of observed environmental, cultural, adaptive, and stylistic changes.

Project Overview

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) are currently undertaking significant improvements to a three-mile long section of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia. Centered on the Girard Avenue Interchange, and encompassing the stretch of highway between the I-676/Vine Street Expressway and Allegheny Avenue Interchanges, the I-95/GIR project winds through portions of the historic Northern Libertiehborhoods.

Report Contributors

AECOM would like to thank and acknowledge the contributions of the many agencies and individuals who have, and continue to play a role in this project. Without their support, guidance, and assistance the creation of this interactive report would not have been possible.