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Department of State

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Lt. Governor and Secretary of State

New Archaeology Exhibition Highlights the Long History of New Jersey’s Capital City

Trenton, N.J. – The New Jersey State Museum presents “History Beneath Our Feet: Archaeology of a Capital City,” a new exhibition focusing on the long history of human activity in Trenton, New Jersey as told through the lens of archaeology. The exhibition opens June 3 in the Museum’s main floor gallery and will remain on view through December 31, 2023.

“History Beneath Our Feet” discusses the importance of archaeology to preserving the past and how excavations at ten locations within Trenton have helped inform our knowledge of human occupation and activities in the area, going back to prehistoric times. Stories that have been lost to time reemerge through artifacts on view, including pottery sherds that illuminated the existence of a long-forgotten local potter; thousands of artifacts that marked a previously unknown Indigenous people’s site; beads that may have belonged to enslaved people; a hollowed-out wooden log that served as Trenton’s water system in the 19th century, and more. Among the archaeological sites explored are the New Jersey State House, Petty’s Run, the Trent House and the Old Barracks Museum.

According to the Museum’s Curator of Archaeology, Dr. Gregory Lattanzi, “Most people think evidence of the past has been erased under modern cities, but that is not the case. There are still plenty of intact sites to be discovered, and in some cases because of New Jersey and federal regulations, archaeologists are able to recover and interpret artifacts which help us to tell the stories of the New Jersey’s past.” A related audio tour app highlighting seven sites in the city will be available for visitors to download onto their mobile devices.

“History Beneath Our Feet: Archaeology of a Capital City” and related programming is supported in part by the New Jersey Historical Commission, NJM Insurance Group, New Jersey Council on the Humanities and the New Jersey State Museum Foundation.

The New Jersey State Museum is open Tuesday - Sunday, 9:00 am to 4:45 pm; closed on all State holidays. General admission is free. For additional information visit, like the Museum’s Facebook page (@NJStateMuseum), and follow us on Twitter (njstatemuseum), Instagram (nj_statemuseum) and YouTube (@newjerseystatemuseum1895.)

About the New Jersey State Museum
Located at 205 West State Street in Trenton, the New Jersey State Museum encompasses three buildings including a state-of-the-art Planetarium and holds over 2 million artifacts in its collections in Archaeology/Ethnography, Cultural History, Fine Art and Natural History. The New Jersey State Museum is a center for the exploration of science, history and the arts. We preserve and share stories that inspire curiosity and creativity for the enrichment of our communities.

About the New Jersey State Museum Foundation
The New Jersey State Museum Foundation was founded in 1968 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) to support the Museum's collections, exhibitions and programs through fundraising, volunteerism, advocacy and marketing. In recent years, the Foundation has received generous support from the PNC Foundation, NJM Insurance Group, Department of State/New Jersey Historical Commission, New Jersey Council for the Humanities, The Henry Luce Foundation, The Capstone Foundation and Princeton Area Community Foundation. The Foundation also operates the Museum membership program, as well as the Museum Shop which sells merchandise related to the Museum's exhibitions and collections, and New Jersey history and culture. Proceeds support the New Jersey State Museum's collections, exhibitions and programs.


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