Tombstones, wooden ships, mastodon teeth and bones—construction crews over the years have come upon some pretty wild artifacts while digging into the ground beneath New York City.
But here’s a fascinating relic uncovered in 1929, when excavation was underway for the apartment buildings on the far East Side that would eventually become Tudor City.
It’s a Hessian sword, described as a “slightly curved, single-edged iron blade” with a wooden grip and “helmet-shaped iron pommel” by the New-York Historical Society, which has the sword in its collection.
That September, thousands of British and Hessian soldiers sailed across the East River and invaded Manhattan at the shores of Kip’s Bay.
Watching from a fortification at about today’s 42nd Street, George Washington and his army fled across Manhattan to Harlem Heights.
Eventually the Americans were driven out of Manhattan (temporarily, of course)—and at some point, a Hessian soldier must have dropped his sword, where it remained buried for 153 years.
Fred French, the developer of Tudor City, donated the sword to the New-York Historical Society.
[First image: Wikipedia; second image: Tudor City Confidential; third image: Wikipedia; fourth image: NYPL]