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national treasure

A revolutionary era ship from the 1770s was found buried underneath the World Trade Center

Archaeologists say it was built from same wood used to build Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.

NBC Nightly News / YouTube

IT’S A SHIP tied to two critical points in American history, 11 September 2001 and the eve of the Revolutionary War.

Researchers said this week that a vessel unearthed four years ago at the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan was made from wood cut around the year 1773 — two years before the start of the war and three years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Scientists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are attempting to lift the veil on the mystery surrounding the almost a quarter of a millennium old ship.

Using the process of dendrochronology, which involves analysing the pattern of rings in the wood used to build the ship, the researcher have dated the ship back to the late 18th century, around the time of the Revolutionary War.

Ground Zero Buried Ship Archaeologists begin dismantling the remains of an 18th century ship. AP Photo / Mark Lennihan AP Photo / Mark Lennihan / Mark Lennihan

Writing in the July issue of the journal Tree Ring Research, the researcher s say that the white oak in the ship’s frame came from a Philadelphia-area forest and matched the material used to build the city’s Independence Hall.

They said they tentatively identified it as a Dutch-designed, Philadelphia-built sloop made to carry passengers and cargo over shallow, rocky water.

It’s believed that the ship sailed for 20 to 30 years before being weighed down and sunk to the bottom of the Hudson River as landfill to extend lower Manhattan.

A 32-foot piece of the vessel was found in July 2010 about 20 feet under a street during construction of a parking garage for the new 1 World Trade Center tower, part of the complex rebuilt after the 9/11 terrorist attacks took down two towers.

Ground Zero Buried Ship Planks from the ship stick out of the mud at the World Trade Center construction site. AP Photo / Mark Lennihan AP Photo / Mark Lennihan / Mark Lennihan

Archeologists dismantled the ship piece-by-piece and freeze-dried each plank so they could be studied and eventually reassembled for display.

A 100-pound iron anchor was found a few yards from the hull, possibly from the old vessel.

It was the second ship found buried in Lower Manhattan in the last four decades. Archaeologists found an 18th-century cargo ship on Water Street in 1982.

Read: Unidentified 9/11 remains returned to Ground Zero >

Pic: Incredible image of escalator being lifted to new World Trade Center >

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