KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Whenever the Missouri Department of Transportation begins construction on land that is considered a site of early settlements, archaeologists must be on site. This permits them to protect cultural resources.
Cultural resource specialists from Burns & McDonnell discovered a few things when construction started along Washington Street and 5th Street as part the Buck O’Neil Bridge Replacement Project.
Andrew Gottsfield, a senior Burns & McDonnell cultural resource specialist, was present when the team made a surprise discovery.
Gottsfield stated that they discovered it was native soil when digging a hole there. “Then we dug another hole in the basement here and found a lot of brick so we just connected all the dots and found the foundation.
The team believes that the foundation is from an 1800s hotel.
Gottsfield stated that other essential artifacts were discovered after the foundation was found.
Gottsfield explained that “we found what we believe to be many privies, which is outhouses.” Gottsfield also said that outhouses to archaeologists or urban archaeology are crucial because people would place their trash in the outhouses.
There were bottles and jars as well soap holders, soap holders, combs and eyeglasses. Some of the items were found to date back hundreds years.
They concluded that the hotel was best suited for working-class people through their discoveries.
This is important because it allows us to document lives that aren’t recorded in history. History is mostly written by those who are wealthy merchants or whatever. Gottsfield stated that this will provide us with an insight into the daily behavior of those who worked to build Kansas City.
The artifacts will now be sent back to the lab of cultural resource specialists for cleaning and documentation. Some pieces may be displayed at MoDOT or put in museums.
When they discover similar sites, officials will send them to another facility.
This story was first reported by Daisha Jones of KSHB.