Students Dig Up Old Dutch Brooklyn

Students excavate an old well at the Lott House (Source:

The famous and historic Lott House of Marine Park has been invaded by teenagers and an eager Brooklyn College Ph.D. student looking to unearth the treasures of 18th century Brooklyn. BC News chronicles the archaeological expedition with panache, detailing the story of biology teacher Marcus Watson and his class of college credit-seeking Erasmus Hall High School students and their efforts to uncover any long buried secrets that the Lott House might be hiding.

Lott House, built in 1719 by early Dutch settlers, is one of the oldest homes standing in New York City. At its pinnacle, the homestead, owned by the wealthy Lott family, used to lay host to 2oo acres of farmland spanning the distance between Kings Highway and Jamaica Bay. The property has since retreated to the one acre space surrounding the house in Marine Park.

H. Arthur Bankoff , head of New York City Landmarks and Preservation Committee, is the overall supervisor of Watson and his group of students. The team has been going through the rough rigors of digging trenches, laying guide lines, and carefully excavating the property in and around Lott House.

“The students are receiving hands-on experience in science and local history. It’s discovery learning at its best,” said Watson.

The students who volunteered for the project seemed leery at the prospect of all the hard work at first, but dismissed those concerns once the thrill of discovery took hold. The article describes when the students hit the foundation for Lott House’s old well, all their tedious work had begun to pay off.

“I didn’t think about work after that. I just felt proud,” said Enrique Spencer.

The historic property, which is also undergoing an extensive restoration project in combination with the archaeological research, is currently closed to the public. For more information on the history Lott House, and its current renovation, visit


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