Discover our roots

Bartram’s Garden has inspired journeys large and small for nearly 5,000 years. The Garden is one of only a handful of identified prehistoric locations in Philadelphia. Archaeological evidence has been found that the Garden was occupied seasonally by Native Americans as early as 3,000 BCE. Objects found during digs include stone artifacts, flakes from tool production, and fire-cracked rock. These objects are available to view in the John Bartram Bowman Special Collections Library by appointment.

Beginning in 1648, a 1,000 acre tract of land that included Bartram’s Garden was settled as an outpost on a New Sweden colony on the Schuylkill River.  This land, known as “Aronameck,” was eventually divided along natural boundaries and creek valleys, and further small clearings developed in the later 17th Century, including a piece which became the site of John Bartram’s farm and garden.