Workers excavating at the World Trade Centre site have unearthed the 9.75-meter-long hull of a ship likely buried in the 18th century.
The vessel probably was used along with other debris to fill in land to extend lower Manhattan into the Hudson River, archaeologists said.
Archaeologists Molly McDonald and A Michael Pappalardo were at the site of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on Tuesday morning when workers uncovered the artifacts.
"We noticed curved timbers that a backhoe brought up," McDonald said on Wednesday. "We quickly found the rib of a vessel and continued to clear it away and expose the hull over the last two days."
The two archaeologists work for AKRF, a firm hired to document artifacts discovered at the site. They called Tuesday's find significant but said more study was needed to determine the age of the ship.
"We're going to send timber samples to a laboratory to do endocrinology that will help us to get a sense of when the boat was constructed," said McDonald, who added that a boat specialist was going to the site on Thursday to take a look at the ship.
The workers and archaeologists also found a 45-kilogramme anchor in the same area on Wednesday, but they're not sure if it belongs to the ship.
The archaeologists are racing to record and analyse the vessel before the delicate wood, now exposed to air, begins to deteriorate.
"I kept thinking of how closely it came to being destroyed," Pappalardo said.