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19th century Tomb Found Below NYC's Washington Square Park

Nov 06, 2015 12:18 PM EST

Below one edge of New York's Washington Square Park, city workers recently unearthed a burial vault from the 19th century and a second, vaulted-ceiling tomb of skeletal remains, reported the NY Post.

The remains were found when the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) contractors were trying to dig up a 100-year-old water main and put in new water distribution lines.

Both vaults are made of stone and have arched ceilings and are 15 feet by 20 feet and eight feet deep. They have wooden doors, confirmed a report on CNN.

In the first vault were skeletal remains of up to 10 people. Twenty intact coffins were in the second tomb, said DDC Commissioner Ferniosky Peña-Mora, in the NY Post.

These vaults are linked to one of two church congregations with members buried there, Archaeologist Alyssa Loorya, based in Brooklyn, said in the NY Post.

The archaeologists will implement high-resolution photography to decipher the names on the coffin plates and learn how many human remains are inside the vault, said Loorya in the Post article.

"It's significant," said Loorya in the Post article. "Usually we're dealing with broken bits of pottery and objects and we can learn so much from that and from past infrastructure. But actually being able to put names to areas and to commemorate some of those people, it's different than seeing a name in a document. It makes it very real."

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