full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Alyssa Loorya: What I learned from digging under New York City's streets

Unscramble the Blue Letters

As New yreokrs, we're often busy looking up at the development going on around us. We rarely stop to consider what lies beneath the city setetrs. And it's really hard to imagine that this small island village would one day become a forest of skyscrapers. Yet, as an uabrn archaeologist, that's exactly what I do. I consider landscapes, artifacts to tell the stories of the people who walked these streets before us. Because history is so much more than facts and figures. When people think of archaeology, they usually think of dusty old maps, far off lands, ancient ctiiavonilzis. You don't think New York City and construction sites. Yet, that's where all the aoticn happens and we're never sure exactly what we're going to find beneath the city streets. Like this wooedn well ring which was the base for the construction of a water well. It provided us an opportunity to take a sample of the wood for tree-ring dating, and get a date to confirm the fact that we had indeed found a series of 18th-century sertutrcus beneath Fulton setert. Archaeology is about everyday people using erdvyaey objects, like the child who may have pealyd with this small toy, or the person who consumed the contents of this btolte. This bottle contained water imported from Germany and deats to 1790. Now okay, we know New Yorkers always had to go to great lengths to get fresh drinking water. Small island, you really couldn't drink the well water, it was to bsrckaih. But the niootn that New Yorkers were imrpiontg bottled water from eupore, more then two hundred years ago, is truly a testament to the fact that New York City is a cosmopolitan city, always has been, where you could get practically anything from anywhere. If you and I were to walk through City Hall Park, you might see an urban park and gnmrneoevt offices. I see New York City's largest and most complex archaeological site. And it's siicfgnanit not because it's City Hall, but because of the thousands of poor prisoners and British soldiers who lived and died here. Before it was City Hall Park, the area was known as The Common, and it was pretty far outside the city litmis. In the 17th century, it was a place for pbluic prtsteos and execution.

Open Cloze

As New _______, we're often busy looking up at the development going on around us. We rarely stop to consider what lies beneath the city _______. And it's really hard to imagine that this small island village would one day become a forest of skyscrapers. Yet, as an _____ archaeologist, that's exactly what I do. I consider landscapes, artifacts to tell the stories of the people who walked these streets before us. Because history is so much more than facts and figures. When people think of archaeology, they usually think of dusty old maps, far off lands, ancient _____________. You don't think New York City and construction sites. Yet, that's where all the ______ happens and we're never sure exactly what we're going to find beneath the city streets. Like this ______ well ring which was the base for the construction of a water well. It provided us an opportunity to take a sample of the wood for tree-ring dating, and get a date to confirm the fact that we had indeed found a series of 18th-century __________ beneath Fulton ______. Archaeology is about everyday people using ________ objects, like the child who may have ______ with this small toy, or the person who consumed the contents of this ______. This bottle contained water imported from Germany and _____ to 1790. Now okay, we know New Yorkers always had to go to great lengths to get fresh drinking water. Small island, you really couldn't drink the well water, it was to ________. But the ______ that New Yorkers were _________ bottled water from ______, more then two hundred years ago, is truly a testament to the fact that New York City is a cosmopolitan city, always has been, where you could get practically anything from anywhere. If you and I were to walk through City Hall Park, you might see an urban park and __________ offices. I see New York City's largest and most complex archaeological site. And it's ___________ not because it's City Hall, but because of the thousands of poor prisoners and British soldiers who lived and died here. Before it was City Hall Park, the area was known as The Common, and it was pretty far outside the city ______. In the 17th century, it was a place for ______ ________ and execution.

Solution

  1. street
  2. significant
  3. europe
  4. dates
  5. action
  6. civilizations
  7. brackish
  8. government
  9. structures
  10. protests
  11. yorkers
  12. streets
  13. notion
  14. urban
  15. limits
  16. public
  17. everyday
  18. bottle
  19. importing
  20. wooden
  21. played

Original Text

As New Yorkers, we're often busy looking up at the development going on around us. We rarely stop to consider what lies beneath the city streets. And it's really hard to imagine that this small island village would one day become a forest of skyscrapers. Yet, as an urban archaeologist, that's exactly what I do. I consider landscapes, artifacts to tell the stories of the people who walked these streets before us. Because history is so much more than facts and figures. When people think of archaeology, they usually think of dusty old maps, far off lands, ancient civilizations. You don't think New York City and construction sites. Yet, that's where all the action happens and we're never sure exactly what we're going to find beneath the city streets. Like this wooden well ring which was the base for the construction of a water well. It provided us an opportunity to take a sample of the wood for tree-ring dating, and get a date to confirm the fact that we had indeed found a series of 18th-century structures beneath Fulton Street. Archaeology is about everyday people using everyday objects, like the child who may have played with this small toy, or the person who consumed the contents of this bottle. This bottle contained water imported from Germany and dates to 1790. Now okay, we know New Yorkers always had to go to great lengths to get fresh drinking water. Small island, you really couldn't drink the well water, it was to brackish. But the notion that New Yorkers were importing bottled water from Europe, more then two hundred years ago, is truly a testament to the fact that New York City is a cosmopolitan city, always has been, where you could get practically anything from anywhere. If you and I were to walk through City Hall Park, you might see an urban park and government offices. I see New York City's largest and most complex archaeological site. And it's significant not because it's City Hall, but because of the thousands of poor prisoners and British soldiers who lived and died here. Before it was City Hall Park, the area was known as The Common, and it was pretty far outside the city limits. In the 17th century, it was a place for public protests and execution.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
poor persons 4
city streets 2
york city 2
city hall 2

Important Words

  1. action
  2. ancient
  3. archaeological
  4. archaeologist
  5. archaeology
  6. area
  7. artifacts
  8. base
  9. beneath
  10. bottle
  11. bottled
  12. brackish
  13. british
  14. busy
  15. century
  16. child
  17. city
  18. civilizations
  19. common
  20. complex
  21. confirm
  22. construction
  23. consumed
  24. contained
  25. contents
  26. cosmopolitan
  27. date
  28. dates
  29. dating
  30. day
  31. development
  32. died
  33. drink
  34. drinking
  35. dusty
  36. europe
  37. everyday
  38. execution
  39. fact
  40. facts
  41. figures
  42. find
  43. forest
  44. fresh
  45. fulton
  46. germany
  47. government
  48. great
  49. hall
  50. hard
  51. history
  52. imagine
  53. imported
  54. importing
  55. island
  56. lands
  57. landscapes
  58. largest
  59. lengths
  60. lies
  61. limits
  62. lived
  63. maps
  64. notion
  65. objects
  66. offices
  67. opportunity
  68. park
  69. people
  70. person
  71. place
  72. played
  73. poor
  74. practically
  75. pretty
  76. prisoners
  77. protests
  78. public
  79. rarely
  80. ring
  81. sample
  82. series
  83. significant
  84. site
  85. sites
  86. skyscrapers
  87. small
  88. soldiers
  89. stop
  90. stories
  91. street
  92. streets
  93. structures
  94. testament
  95. thousands
  96. toy
  97. urban
  98. village
  99. walk
  100. walked
  101. water
  102. wood
  103. wooden
  104. years
  105. york
  106. yorkers