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DEC/Picotte Office Building Collection

pieces of a molded teapot

The DEC/Picotte Office Building Collection includes 146,000 artifacts from an excavation on the east side of Broadway between Columbia Street and Orange Street in Albany where the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Office Building is currently located. During the colonial period, this area was near the waterfront but outside of the city wall, and occupied by tanneries and shoemakers. The buildings in these blocks were destroyed by the fire of 1797, but were rebuilt in the nineteenth century. Many important components of Albany’s history dating from the seventeenth through the early twentieth centuries are represented in this collection.

Sub Component

Trader’s House

Mid-seventeenth-century deposits included in the collection may represent an illegal trading operation.  These deposits and features were located on the northern edge of Beverwyck alongside the Hudson River where furs from the north or west that were bound for Fort Orange could be intercepted. Many objects exported from the Netherlands were discovered at the site, including tobacco pipes impressed with the Fleur-de-lis, EB heel marks, and the image of a crocodile regurgitating Sir Walter Raleigh (because he tasted so bad after smoking).. Ceramic sherds of delft and Dutch majolica tablewares were unearthed along with sherds of Frechen, Westerwald, and green-glazed earthenware. Prunts from 17th century wine glasses and wine bottle fragments are also present in this collection.  Clothing accessories recovered include pins, hook-and-eye fragments, a lace tip (aglet), and cast metal buttons.  Glass trade beads, marbles, two small quartz crystals, and a 17th century Dutch half duit coin were among the items found at this site.

  • Deposits: Mid-17th century, 444 artifacts.
  • Hearth: Mid-18th century, 71 artifacts.

John Bogart House

The remains of a house owned by John Bogart destroyed in the 1797 fire were excavated at this site. The stone foundation that supported brick exterior walls, charred wooden floorboards, an interior wall, and a fireplace were recorded.  A small pit that contained a rope-tied barrel was found inside the house. The barrel contained a knife with a bone handle, heavy iron chain links, an axe head, a well hook, a crushed pocket watch, and a variety of 18th-century ceramic sherds.  A wood-lined privy associated with this house was also discovered to contain 297 ceramic sherds made in the second half of the 18th century. The collection includes a spigot key for a tap, two tine forks, a chisel, a wood plane, a horseshoe, lead shot and copper thimbles.  There are several shoe buckles, buttons (one Continental Army button marked with USA), a drop earring, a copper alloy cross pendant, lice combs, and coins recovered from this site. An additional 1,800 artifacts predating the Bogart family occupation of the house were also recorded.

  • Deposits: Post-1797, 2,213 artifacts.
  • Deposits: Pre-1797, 1,832 artifacts.
  • Wood-lined Privy: 1780-1797, 673 artifacts.
  • Barrel Feature: Late 18th century, 473 artifacts.

Nineteenth Century Pottery Dump

Archaeologists encountered evidence of an unusual pottery dump at the north end of the DEC/Picotte site, east of Montgomery Street. The pottery was broken and discarded from the Fondey’s warehouse after the 1797 fire. Dumped upon the 1797 fire debris, the pottery sherds were found situated beneath the stone foundation of the later (c.1820) John Davis house. Individual painting styles were discovered on these ceramics. Although the ceramics were mass-produced, the painted designs were done individually, by hand. Painters were often children and women who were paid by the finished piece and subsequently marked their work for payment.

  • Deposit: 1797-ca.1820, 60,400 artifacts

John Spoor House

  • Deposits: Unknown dates, 556 artifacts.
  • Builder’s Trench: 1797, 146 artifacts.
  • Wooden Sleeper/Floor: Late 18th century, 11 artifacts.
  • Builder’s Trench: Late 18th to Early 19th century, 42 artifacts.

Area 9 Excavations

  • Non-stratified Deposits: No date, 599 artifacts.

Jellis Winnie House

  • Builder’s Trench: Early 19th century, 88 artifacts.
  • Barrel Feature: Late 18th century, 73 artifacts.
  • Barrel Feature: Late 18th century, 210 artifacts.
  • Burned Beams: Late 18th century, 57 artifacts.

Hutton Brothers Silversmith

  • All Deposits: No dates, 2082 artifacts.
  • Wooden Floor: Early 19th century, 1 artifact.
  • Brick Hearth: Early 19th century, 1 artifact.

Residential and Commercial District

  • Units 1-12 All Layers: No dates, 99,714 artifacts.
  • Wood Lined Privy: 1810-1830, 498 artifacts.
  • Wood and Stone Privy: 1770-1800, 1,569 artifacts.
  • Wood Lined Privy: 1775-1800, 6,419 artifacts.
  • Cut Stone Privy: 1850-1870, 2,462 artifacts.
  • Wood Lined Privy: 1840-1860, 1,454 artifacts.
  • Brick and Stone Privy: 1850-1870, 862 artifacts.
  • Wood Lined Privy: 1860-1880, 289 artifacts.
  • Cut Stone Privy: 1840-1850, 7 artifacts.
  • Brick Cistern: 1850-1860, 805 artifacts.
  • Barrel Cistern: Mid-19th century, 132 artifacts.
  • Barrel Feature: 19th century, 17 artifacts.
  • Pit Feature: 19th century, 1028 artifacts.
  • Brick Cistern: Mid-19th century, 190 artifacts.
  • Foundation Wall: Early 19th century, 63 artifacts.
  • Barrel Feature: 19th century, 215 artifacts.
  • Builder’s Trench: Mid-19th century, 24 artifacts.
  • Drainage Trench: 19th century, 48 artifacts.
  • Bricks/Fill: Late 19th century, 24 artifacts.
  • Brick Drain: 19th century, 89 artifacts.
  • Builder’s Trench for Feature 17: Mid-19th century, 134 artifacts.
  • Possible Builder’s Trench for Feature 25: Mid/Late 19th century, 9 artifacts.
  • Stone Cistern: Pre-1850, 329 artifacts.
  • Builder’s Trench for Stone Foundation: 19th century, 181 artifacts.
  • Ceramic Pipe: Late 19th century, 157 artifacts.
  • Builder’s Trench for Stone Foundation: Mid/Late 19th century, 84 artifacts.
  • Builder’s Trench for Feature 118: Mid-19th century, 264 artifacts.
  • Clay Lining around Feature 118: Mid-19th century, 54 artifacts.
  • Cistern: 1840-1860, 444 artifacts.
  • Cold Room: 1840-1860, 16 artifacts.
  • Wastewater Basin: 1840-1860, 19 artifacts.
  • Linear Brick Drain: 1840-1860, 29 artifacts.
  • Pipe Trench for Water Pipe: 1840-1860, 229 artifacts.
  • Builder’s Trench for Feature 27: 1840-1860, 255 artifacts.
  • Wooden Cistern: 1820-1840, 134 artifacts.
  • Stone Wall: 18th century, 172 artifacts.
  • Stone Drain: After 1820, 217 artifacts.
  • Brick and Thin Tile Interior: 17th century, 465 artifacts.
  • Water Pipe and Trench: 1840s, 11 artifacts.
  • Fill: 19th century, 1 artifact.
  • Post Mold: 19th century, 7 artifacts.
  • Disturbance: 19th century, 5 artifacts.
  • Fill: 19th century, 515 artifacts.
  • Disturbed Stone Stairs: 19th century, 66 artifacts.
  • Filled Pit: Early 19th century, 83 artifacts.
  • Post Mold: 19th century, 5 artifacts.
  • Drain: 19th century, 14 artifacts.
  • Builder’s Trench: Mid-19th century, 194 artifacts.
  • Post Hole: 19th century, 13 artifacts.
  • Wooden Posts: No date, 3 artifacts.
  • House Foundation: 1841, 7 artifacts.
  • Lime Deposit: Early 19th century, 1 artifact.

Structures Area 2

  • Linear Wooden Paving: 19th century, 43 artifacts.
  • Brick Structure: 19th century, 12 artifacts.
  • Fill Associated with Structure: Early 19th century, 6 artifacts.

Structure Area 7

  • Deposits: No dates, 301 artifacts.

Hudson River Dock Area 9

  • Deposits: No dates, 908 artifacts.

Fox Creek Deposits, Area 10

  • Deposits: No dates, 6,938 artifacts.
  • Wood Lined Privy: 1840-1860, 209 artifacts.
  • Wood Fill: 18th century, 114 artifacts.

Other Features and Deposits

  • Barrel Privy: 1740-1760, 308 artifacts.