The New York Times Sunday Magazine had an interesting article about a privy excavation in the author’s back garden in Greenwich Village.  Greenwich Village is not unlike our own Queen Village — colonial neighborhoods of brick row houses, New Netherland to our New Sweden.  Both neighborhoods hold the subterranean remnants of generations of new Americans.  Privies are well known as repositories of historic rubbish (aka artifacts) and can reveal a good deal about our citizen ancestors.

Phound in Philly: bottle, marble, redware, blue & white ceramics, and oyster shells

Phound in Philly: bottle, marble, redware, blue & white ceramics, and oyster shells

There is one “artifact” that is ubiquitous in Queen Village — oyster shells.   They were a very popular street food back in the day, and any modern-day Philly gardener can confirm that.  They were sold as street food in Colonial times — sort of proto food trucks.

oystervendorphilly

African Americans were often street vendors in Philly. This wheelbarrow full of oysters was one of the first food “trucks.” (I guess the shells were proto litter…)

 

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