Eastern State Penitentiary Opens Archaeological Dig of Escape Tunnel to the Public

PHILADELPHIA, March 22 /PRNewswire/ — Marking the 60th anniversary of one of the most famous prison breaks in American history, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site in Philadelphia is exploring the remains of a 97-foot tunnel still buried beneath the prison’s massive wall.

Archaeologists will be on-hand Sunday, April 3rd (the exact anniversary) to lead hands-on archaeology workshops for the public, and describe their ongoing investigation. They are scheduled to begin the digging phase of their work on Monday, March 28.

The historic site will also stage a dramatic recreation of the 1945 tunnel escape on Sunday, April 3, using live actors to portray “Slick Willie” Sutton, tunnel mastermind Clarence Klinedinst, and ten others. The actors will spring from the ground at 8 a.m. and scatter into the neighborhood.

Living history tours will be offered throughout the weekend, Saturday and Sunday, April 2 and 3 from 10 am to 5 pm. Live actors will meet the public, dressed in reproduction inmate uniforms from the 1940s, and will remain entirely in character as they describe the eighteen months they spent constructing the doomed tunnel.

This weekend will kick-off the 2005 season at Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site.

Eastern State Penitentiary is located at 22nd and Fairmount Avenue, just five blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. More information is available at (215) 236-3300, or on the penitentiary website: http://www.easternstate.org/.

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