UNC Stumbles on Buried 19th Century Building

Nov 28, 2011

Crews uncover the buried structure
Credit unc.edu

Archaeologists at UNC-Chapel Hill say they've uncovered a structure on campus that is an underground cellar from the early 1800s. Construction crews ran into the buried structure last month while building a new drainage pipe underneath McCorkle Place.

Research archaeologist Brett Riggs says it was most likely a storage area for a private residence.

Brett Riggs: "This would have been a cool cellar below a building, more than likely a kitchen building. Since you had no refrigeration in the early 19th century, people needed subterranean features to keep foods at a cooler temperature so you could preserve fruits and vegetables, milk and various food stuffs for longer periods of time than you might normally."
Riggs says crews also came across what appears to be a drainage system for the building. Archaeologists recovered bits of china plates, window glass and animal bones while digging at the site. UNC students will get to participate in analyzing the fragments this spring.