As this brief program has shown, Philadelphia is an area with a deep and rich Native American heritage, where evidence of this past should yet remain. If Native American sites are most commonly located within 500 feet of sources of fresh water, then this 1809 survey, showing the locations of former stream channels (highlighted in blue), indicates that virtually all of central Philadelphia must be considered very likely to contain such archaeological evidence.
Information presented here shows that Native American sites have survived despite more than 300 years of intensive development and construction. Moreover, those sites already found hint that the discovery of other such sites should not necessarily be a rare event. To the contrary, evidence of Native American occupations and activity — the campsites they made, the homes and villages they lived in, even the places where they buried their dead — should be preserved below the city's streets and interior alleyways, in former backyards, and other fragmentary spaces where development has not yet reached. With proper foresight, research, and planning these spaces, and these sites, can and will continue to be discovered.
In the final analysis, this handful of sites represents only an incomplete preview of exciting discoveries yet to come. More importantly, they also offer a critical lesson about how even the most delicate fragments of Philadelphia's archaeological and historical legacy can still be preserved below the modern streetscape, and provide a warning about how easily evidence of our shared heritage can be permanently erased by neglect, indifference, or expediency falsely proclaimed as a requirement for progress.