Why are there so many tunnels under Barnumbia? We have the answer.

The year is 8,500 BCE. megatherium americanum, a now extinct species of giant ground sloths, roams the earth. Often measuring over 12 feet tall, and weighing up to four tons, these magnificent creatures coexisted with ancient humans, and dug massive tunnels the circumference of an average-sized car. Bwog et al. posits that the Barnard tunnels have existed much longer than the city of New York, as far back as the existence of these gentle giants. 

First to consider is this essential question: why are there so many tunnels under Columbia? Unlike many other universities, underground hallways and caverns abound. We have done extensive research—thinking about this in our spare time—and exposed the truth. The tunnels were dug thousands of years ago on the very island of Manhattan, by a very lost giant ground sloth. 

To date, the relationship between humans and animals has been deeply intertwined. Additionally, the history of domestication is equally as prominent as humans’ use of natural architecture like caves and natural bridges. Naturally, then, the Barnumbia tunnels were an example of this relationship with native fauna, and the use of natural architecture.

The size of these tunnels is comparable to those dug by giant ground sloths, and they were inhabitants of this part of the world, give or take a few thousand miles. The tunnels they dug were also quite structurally sound, and many of them have survived the millennia and remain today, so it is no stretch to imagine they were still here when the colonies were founded. We think the city of New Amsterdam was actually built out from these tunnels. The megatherium tunnels were the reason the city was such an important urban center early on.

In fact, we believe early humans have been using these tunnels for much longer. For thousands of years, we posit that indigenous groups have been inhabiting and traveling through m. americanum tunnels. When the colonizers invaded and established New Amsterdam, Dutch colonists were searching for natural infrastructure in which to store food underground for the winter, they found these tunnels.

In the 19th century, the land was converted into the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum, and the tunnels were renovated to look more like traditionally built hallways for the use of orderlies and other staff of the institution. When Columbia and Barnard finally occupied the land, this history had been lost. 

Bwog et al., however, has rediscovered this lost information through the inspired imagination of its members. Next time you travel through the tunnels on your way to Hewitt, think back to the very true history revealed to you here, and the enterprising sloth that dug the tunnels.

Very real tunnel image via Bwog Staff