Artifacts unearthed in I-95 excavation on display Thursday

Objects unearthed during excavation under I-95 will be on display at the First Presbyterian Church on Girard Avenue in Kensington on Thursday evening. Items include Native American tools, arrowheads and pipes as well as historical artifacts from local fishermen, shipbuilders and tradesmen. (Office of the City Controller)

Objects that tell stories from more than 5,000 years of Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Kensington and Port Richmond history will be on display Thursday at the First Presbyterian Church in Kensington.

The museum-quality exhibit will feature numerous artifacts unearthed at several sites beneath I-95 in the Fishtown and Port Richmond neighborhoods — including the site of the former William Cramp & Sons Shipbuilding Co. — along with a variety of historic photographs, interpretive exhibits, and a slide show of the excavations.

Staff from PennDOT and the URS Corporation, PennDOT’s archaeological team on the project, will be present to provide additional information and answer questions.

Artifacts found include tools, arrowheads, cooking pots and smoking pipes manufactured by Native Americans who lived along the Delaware River from 3560 B.C. to 1500 A.D. Also on display will be historical artifacts dating from the early 1700s through the early 1900s and associated with fishermen, shipbuilders and tradesmen who lived on the waterfront during this period.

The exhibit also includes objects from and information on the glass industry that developed on the Delaware River waterfront during the 18th through early 20th centuries.

The free event, “Before and Below I-95 in 2014,” will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church at 418 E. Girard Ave.

Archaeological excavations for PennDOT’s I-95 improvement project in the area of the Girard Avenue Interchange began in 2008, and archaeological work continues along the corridor. Learn more about the archaeology and see photographs of found items here.

Construction at the Girard Avenue Interchange and on adjacent sections of I-95 is currently being done under three construction contracts valued at $342 million. The improvement program is financed with federal and state funds.  is dedicated to covering design, planning and development issues in Philadelphia. The news website is a project of PennPraxis, the clinical arm of the School of Design of the University of Pennsylvania. It is funded by the Wyncote Foundation.