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First Archaeological Dig In Chinatown Underway

BOSTON (CBS) - History, in the digging. Monday marked the start of the first archaeological dig in Chinatown.

"This is history in your backyard! It's extremely exciting!" Sarah Keklak said.

Joseph Bagley, City Archaeologist of Boston, is leading the charge.

"It's the first day of a dig so everything is possible right now. Whenever you do a dig you never know what you're going to find everything could still be here," he explained.

The site, 6 Hudson Street, is on the middle of a busy and bustling Chinatown. Historical documentation said it was once home to Irish, English, Syrian and Chinese immigrants or decedents from 1840-1980.

Chinatown dig
Archaeological dig underway in Chinatown (WBZ-TV)

After some digging and sifting, the first handful of gems were revealed.

"Quite a few things, brick, glass, not sure what that is and that's the piece we've been showing around. That's really something," Suzie Berlin explained.

The woman who found the piece of Chinese pottery, Lauren Poe, is a student from UMass Boston.

"It's an exciting find when you're finding all gravel and then you find a piece of pottery," Poe said.

Another piece found is believed to be Japanese.

Bagley found it very surprising and next the team plans to figure out what it might have been doing there.

Chinatown dig
Pottery found during archaeological dig in Boston's Chinatown (WBZ-TV)

Even though the pieces are small, he says they tell a big story.

"When you research this property most of the documentation, we found was adult men, that's all. So there was other people in this house so what were their stories? What was going on in the backyard? What are people eating? What were there home lives like?" Bagley said.

"We tell the story with all the artifacts together and where they all come from," Keklak said.

Property Owner Wilson Lee is grateful to be uncovering these stories before it's too late.

"We are just really excited! Hopefully we find some gold coins!" he joked. "Whatever we find can be handed down to the next generation because history is so important."

The team has two months of digging and about a year of analysis and site reconstruction in the lab ahead of them.

For now, the story is to be continued.

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