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Scientists solve mystery of centuries-old ship buried under the World Trade Center

Back in 2010, during the World Trade Center's rebuilding effort, construction workers found an unidentified ship just south of where the towers once stood. Its fragments were excavated and sent to the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory.

Now, tree rings have provided details about the wooden ship. Researchers at Columbia University's Tree Ring Laboratory, where some of the ship's fragments were sent, recently found that the ship was likely built around 1773.

The research team looked at the tree ring patterns to figure out what climate the wood came from, and the ship's pattern was close to the rings of both living trees and historic wood from Philadelphia and Independence Hall, which, Live Science notes, was built between 1732 and 1756.

"We could see that at that time in Philadelphia, there were still a lot of old-growth forests, and [they were] being logged for shipbuilding and building Independence Hall," Martin-Benito told Live Science. "Philadelphia was one of the most — if not the most — important shipbuilding cities in the U.S. at the time. And they had plenty of wood, so it made lots of sense that the wood could come from there."