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Archaeological finds on SugarHouse casino site

28 April 2008

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania -- As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Billboards for the SugarHouse casino on Delaware Avenue herald a future with slot machines for 22 empty riverfront acres.

"But it's a fascination with the past that is drawing new attention - and controversy - to the project.

"...Pennsylvania's top agency on historic matters has called for more extensive archaeological work at the property, on the Fishtown-Northern Liberties border. Initial work has uncovered 182 American Indian artifacts, including an arrowhead, a drill, and fragments of waste from making stone tools.

"...The intense curiosity about the past has come up as a result of SugarHouse's request to the Army Corps of Engineers to build into the water.

"SugarHouse needs federal permission to dredge, fill in more than an acre of water, and build a stone embankment. An archaeological review is part of the process.

"The state's historic commission already is urging that one section of the property - a 30-by-50-foot plot that yielded the American Indian relics just inches from the surface - be excavated completely and considered for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

"...Terrence McKenna, the project executive for the Keating Group, which is building the casino, said the developers recognized the historic significance of the property and would comply with any guidance from the Army Corps or the state's historic commission..."

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