Government workers got more than what they were digging for on Tuesday as they worked to upgrade water mains underneath a New York City park.
As they dug below Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, they came across an odd tunnel that was apparently a burial vault from a Presbyterian church cemetery dating back to the 19th century, according to WPIX.
Officials said the remains of about 12 people were discovered in the hole, which was about 8 feet deep and 20 feet wide.
Construction has halted as archaeologists and anthropologists were called in to examine the area and initiate recovery efforts.
Alyssa Loorya, principal investigator on the matter, said Thursday the burial grounds were probably used in the late 18th or early 19th centuries.
Officials say Washington Park used to be a potter’s field for the burial of the poor after the Revolutionary War, and it appears that victims of the yellow fever were buried there.
Loorya said skeletons and skulls were visible in one of the crypts and more than a dozen coffins were visible in another.
Landmarks Preservation Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora said an evaluation into the extent and significance of the crypts was underway and the commission would redesign work to accommodate the discovery.
“The vault is being protected and passage by vehicles and pedestrians will be restricted. The impacted area will be blocked off until further information is developed,” she explained.