There was a huge development this summer for the anthropologists and historians who have been piecing together the history of an African-American community that was snuffed out in the 1850s by the creation of Central Park. The New York Times reports that they finally won permission from the city to excavate an area near 85th Street where evidence of the former residents' lives is buried.

About two-thirds of the residents of Seneca Village were African American, while the rest were mostly Irish. The community was settled in the 1820s, a few years before slavery was abolished in New York. Despite old news reports that the village was a squatter camp, it was actually made up of working- and middle-class property owners.

Now the leaders of the Institute for the Exploration of Seneca Village History — a consortium of three professors from City College, Columbia University and New York University — have been digging, along with a team of interns, for more information about the lives of the community's 260 residents. So far the project has generated 250 bags of material, including a small child's shoe.

Read more at the New York Times.

In other news: Adopted Ethiopian Kids Thrive at Special Camp.