Fairfax County

Colchester Park and Preserve

Here at the Old Colchester Park and Preserve in Fairfax County, Virginia, the Colchester Archaeological Research Team (CART) is finishing up field work for this stage. The park is archaeologically rich with sites dating back approximatley 9,000 years through the twentieth century. One of our most significant sites is the colonial tobacco port town of Colchester. Here excavation within one of the town lots exposed a previously identified foundation. However, much to our surprise, we found another wall below the base of the foundation and suspect it is to an earlier structure.

Work in the Mount Vernon Lab

Hello again from Mount Vernon!  My name is Laura and I’m the Archaeology Laboratory Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator.  Work in the lab can vary greatly each day.  After spending some time this morning finding the perfect avatar for our Mount Vernon Day of Archaeology account (see below!), the assistant archaeologist and I spent some time reviewing distribution maps from the Phase II excavations of the George Washington Library site.  The distribution maps tell us where certain classes of artifacts were found and help us narrow down site locations.


George Washington excavating!


This map shows where all the sherds of creamware were recovered from the George Washington Library site


I spent this afternoon cross-mending ceramic sherds from an 18th century tin-glazed chamber pot, excavated from the neighboring Potomac Overlook site.   Cross-mending allows us to determine minimum vessel counts and helps us to understand the relationship between different layers of fill.



A Day at Mount Vernon

Good Morning!  As the work day starts to close in the UK, things in Virginia are just getting started!  We are archaeologists working at the home of our first president, George Washington, who owned a large plantation in Virginia in the 18th century.  Our job, as part of the permanent Archaeology Department, is to protect and research the valuable below-ground resources that inform us about plantation life and labor.  Historic Mount Vernon is a private, non-profit organization owned and maintained by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association since 1853.


With the temperature outside approaching 100 degrees it’s nice to be working in the lab today.  The archaeology lab is currently focusing its energy on two main projects.  The first project is the re-analysis of the South Grove midden site, a trash deposit that spans the occupation of several Washington households.  The second project is the analysis of the George Washington Presidential Library site.  This site was excavated last year in preparation of a huge library complex which is slated to begin construction later this summer.



Throughout the afternoon our staff and interns will be posting about their Day of Archaeology at Mount Vernon!


An Old day in the Life

Ok, this is a bit old, but it gives a little context for one part of our project. This link from the Lorton Patch is a dated tour of our historic component. However, our investigations have revealed 8,000 years+ of human activity on our park! You can keep up with us on our blog and if you want to volunteer, shoot us an email at cart.volunteers@gmail.com.