Heritage West is a community archaeology project created with the goal of using archaeology to uncover stories of individuals who lived in the Black Bottom neighborhood of West Philadelphia from the 19th century to the present. For four months in 2023, community members and students worked alongside professional archaeologists to excavate artifacts and features that highlight the love, community, and humanity of the Black Bottom neighborhood and recognize the violence of its destruction under the guise of urban renewal.

Project codirectors Sarah Linn and Megan Kassabaum will discuss the early stages of project planning, the 2023 excavation season, collaborative lab work undertaken in 2024, and current efforts to share the recovered stories widely.

About the Speakers

Megan C. Kassabaum.

Megan C. Kassabaum is the Weingarten Assistant Curator of the American Section at the Penn Museum and assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is an anthropological archaeologist with research interests in public and museum archaeology, archaeology of Philadelphia, pre-contact Native American archaeology of the eastern United States, monument construction and communal ritual, foodways, and ceramic technology. She is committed to making the archaeology of these topics more accessible to the public.

Sarah Linn.

Sarah Linn is the assistant director of the Academic Engagement Department at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work centers on supporting student research in the museum and making archaeological and anthropological research accessible to the public. Linn has co-curated two exhibitions at the Penn Museum, Invisible Beauty: The Art of Archaeological Science and The Stories We Wear.

About the Series

Science on Tap is a monthly speaker series that features brief, informal presentations by Philadelphia-based scientists and other experts followed by lively conversation and a Q&A. The goal is to promote enthusiasm for science in a fun, spirited, and accessible way, while also meeting new people. Come join the conversation!


Header image by Austinmurphy on Wikimedia Commons.

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