Wednesday, July 09, 2008

New Orleans cathedral dig yields clues to history
Archaeologists digging behind St. Louis Cathedral are unearthing nearly three centuries of history: the porcelain head of a tiny doll, an ersatz colonial-era pipe from the 1800s, bits of pottery that Indians may have traded to the men who built New Orleans.

The current cathedral, completed in 1794, is the third church facing what is now Jackson Square. A small wooden church built for the first colonists gave way in 1727 to a larger, more ornate building. That church burned down in 1778, along with most of the city.

Now the first archaeological excavation ever at St. Louis, one of the nation's oldest cathedrals, is turning up bits and pieces from the lives of people who lived and worshipped there.