The Seneca Village Project is dedicated to the study of a 19th-century African-American and Irish-immigrant community that was located intoday's Central Park in New York City. The goal of the project is to conduct further research on the site and to commemorate it in an educational context. The Seneca Village Project includes several integrated components: archaeological and archival research and education.

Seneca Village existed from 1825 through 1857. It was located between 82nd and 89th Streets and Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Today, this area is part of Central Park. Seneca Village was Manhattan's first significant community of African American property owners. By the 1840s, it had become a multi-ethnic community African Americans, Irish, and German immigrants, and perhaps a few Native Americans. In 1855, the New York State Census reported approximately 264 individuals living in the village. There were three churches, as well as a school and several cemeteries. Within two years, Seneca Village would be razed and its identity erased by the creation of Central Park.

The Excavations

In the summer of 2011, archaeologists conducted excavations at Seneca Village. The excavation was a long time in the making. Preliminary research on the site began over a decade ago. The study of historical maps, soils, and ground penetrating radar allowed us to pinpoint locations where it seemed possible that traces of the village might have survived. There were six areas identified. Once we had gathered this information, it took us more than five years to get permission to excavate, a negotiation which was ultimately successful only because of the skills and dedication of some of our Advisory Board members.

Learn more about the excavation

View photos and panoramas from the site