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PHOTOS: Coffins Unearthed at Washington Square Park Burial Vault

By Danielle Tcholakian | November 6, 2015 12:43pm | Updated on November 9, 2015 8:58am

GREENWICH VILLAGE — A second burial vault unearthed by a water main project was found Wednesday night, revealing piles of wooden coffins that likely date back to the 19th-century, according to the Department of Design and Construction, the agency leading the water main project.

The coffins are in addition to the human bones DDC workers found on Tuesday in the first burial vault they uncovered on the eastern edge of Washington Square Park by Waverly Place.

The workers have created barriers to protect the vaults so that their contents can be analyzed, and hopefully identified, by archaeologists, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Archaeologist Alyssa Loorya, right, is leading the investigation into the found remains and coffins.  DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora, left, said DDC's engineers and the construction project team is redesigning the water main project to avoid disturbing the findings, "while minimizing the impact to the construction schedule."


Loorya said at the site on Thursday that the vaults belonged to one of two churches once located further downtown, back when most of the city's inhabitants lived at the southernmost portion of Manhattan.

She is also working to determine if each vault held just one family, or multiple families, and hopes to identify the people who were buried there.