Alyssa Loorya and Christopher Ricciardi: Gotham Underfoot: Urban Archaeologies of New York City

Chrysalis Archaeology, South Street Seaport area

Chrysalis Archaeology, South Street Seaport area. image / provided

It's long been said that the only constant in New York City is change. Shaped by 400 years of creative destruction, Gotham's urban landscape is a many-layered record of the city's rise from a colonial trading post to the most powerful, polyglot metropolis on earth. Over the years, archeological excavations within the five boroughs have greatly augmented our knowledge base of New York's history and development. Such research into our shared past continues to impact how we perceive the city and its remarkable tapestry of peoples and cultures. In this lecture, Brooklyn-based archeologists Alyssa Loorya and Christopher Ricciardi will discuss their work on several high-profile excavations throughout the city — including South Street Seaport, Fulton Street, City Hall, and the Hendrick I. Lott House in Marine Park, a "typical" Dutch-American farmstead that has shed new light on the lifeways of both Dutch colonists and the enslaved Africans who labored under them. 

Alyssa Loorya, M.A., M.Phil., R.P.A.
A preservationist and registered professional archeologist, Alyssa Loorya is cofounder and president of Chrysalis Archaeology, where she has directed more than 60 Cultural Resource Management projects throughout the Northeast — including excavations in historic cemeteries, City Hall Park, and South Street Seaport. Earlier in her career, she participated in numerous excavations while working at the Brooklyn College Archaeological Research Center. Loorya is a past president of the Professional Archeologists of New York City, and serves on the boards of several preservation organizations — including the Hendrick I. Lott House Preservation Association and the Historic Districts Council. She has developed special content curricula in archaeology, historic preservation, and architectural studies for the NYC Department of Education and several local museums and non-profits. Loorya is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Christopher Ricciardi, Ph.D., R.P.A.
Christopher Ricciardi holds a doctorate in anthropology and archaeology from Syracuse University and is a registered professional archeologist. He is currently a program manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, North Atlantic Division, where he is responsible for ensuring that the Corps’ mission is executed from Maine to Virginia. From 1990 to 2001 he helped direct the Brooklyn College Archaeological Research Center, where he lectured on field and laboratory methods, led field and laboratory programs, and mentored students. From 2001 to 2009 Ricciardi served as the chief archaeologist for the Corps, New York District, where he managed all New York City Works projects as they related to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Ricciardi has participated in over 30 archaeological excavations in Eastern Europe, Bulgaria, the Caribbean, upstate New York, Long Island, and throughout New York City. His principle research interests include African-American slavery, the Underground Railroad, rural-urban transformation, landscape transformation, and the Dutch in New York. Ricciardi has authored or coauthored more than 40 archaeological reports and publications, and has lecture on his work around the world.

Cosponsored by the Clarence Stein Institute for Urban and Landscape Studies and the Cornell Institute of Archeology and Material Studies.