The Archaeology of a Jailbreak…

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports today that historical archaeologist Rebecca Yamin and the folks at John Milner Associates are busy doing the archaeology of prisons…I know, I know…that’s being done in several places (in the US, in the UK and Australia) all stressing Foucault & Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon…..(yawn.)

Ahhh, but this project comes to us from a completely different direction–and its a direction sure to capture the imaginations of both archaeologists and the general public. It’s the archaeology of a prison break…they’ve located a 97 foot-long secret tunnel dug by prisoners and used in a daring 1945 escape from Eastern State Penitentiary.

Using aerial photos, maps, and ground penetrating radar they have located the tunnel used by Willie Sutton (sentenced to 25 to 50 years for the machine-gun robbery of the Corn Exchange Bank and Trust Co. in Philadelphia; shown in the photo above) and 11 other inmates in 1945. Check out the full article here. Or, check out the Eastern State Penitentiary Museum (billed as America’s most historic prison) for more information.

Now that’s resistance, eh? With data to back it up!


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One Comment on “The Archaeology of a Jailbreak…”

  1. April 3, 2006 at 7:44 am #

    So why are they focusing on prison breaks and the potential for tourism… ah, I mean, cultural resource management?

    Well, now, because…

    (wait for it)…

    Because that’s where the money is!!!


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