Episode 190: The Teeth Beneath Your Feet: Oddities in Urban Archaeology

URS archaeology crew at a site along I-95

URS Corporation archaeologists excavate a site along Interstate 95 in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. Photo by Mariel Carr.

Where can you find a teacup, the molar of a goat, and an arrowhead all in one place? At an urban archaeology site, that’s where. This episode of Distillations goes underground, and reveals the fascinating worlds beneath our city shoes.

“The Teeth Beneath Your Feet: Oddities in Urban Archaeology” features urban archaeologists Doug Mooney, senior archaeologist at URS corporation and president of the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum, and Deirdre Kelleher, who is finishing her doctorate at Temple University.

We visit an artifact processing lab where volunteers are dusting off thousands of objects from a historic street in Philadelphia, and then we stop in on an excavation site alongside Interstate 95. Finally our guests discuss public archaeology, debunk a few of the field’s myths (no dinosaurs here, folks), describe the unique process of digging in cities, and explain why archaeology is important for everyone.

Show Clock:

00:03 Introduction

01:05 After the dig: Artifact processing at Temple University

05:40 During the dig: Uncovering history along I-95

09:41 Interview: Deirdre Kelleher and Doug Mooney


Hosts: Michal Meyer and Bob Kenworthy

Reporter & Producer: Mariel Carr

Guests: Deirdre Kelleher and Doug Mooney

Music Credits:

“Quirky Sleuth” Philip Guyler (Audio Network)

“Actual Reality” Lucky Dragons

 “Hallon” Christian Bjoerklund

“What Is Its Vessel?” Dave Merson Hess

“Fisherman” Dave Merson Hess

“I Like Dogs” Dave Merson Hess

“Dream” (instrumental) Chan Wai Fat

“The Bear’s Just for Show” Krackatoa

“Healing Sleep” Infinite Third

“Orange Juice” Podington Bear

“Starling” Podington Bear

“Nature Kid” Podington Bear 


Special thanks to the Free Music Archive,





comments powered by Disqus

By posting your comment, you agree to abide by CHF’s Comment Policies.

The Museum at CHF

The Museum at CHF

Explore the fascinating history of chemistry and the role science plays in the modern world at our museum in Philadelphia.

Arnold O. Beckman

CHF’s Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry was started with a generous grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation in 1987.



Distillations Magazine
Support CHF and receive our award-winning quarterly magazine.

Join the Conversation

Distillations Blog logo
Our blog brings the stories of science and culture directly to you.

Meet the Othmers