- Friday, July 24th, 3-3:30pm
- Fort Ward Park
- 4301 W. Braddock Road
- Alexandria, VA, 22304
Since 1995, staff archaeologists and volunteers with the Alexandria Archaeology Museum have been working to excavate a site on the grounds of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial that sits high on a bluff overlooking the historic downtown area of Alexandria, Virginia. The site — known as Shuter’s Hill (44AX175) — was once the location of an 18th century plantation, as well as a second home built in the mid-19th century when the plantation home burned. Artifacts associated with the Civil War era occupation of the city have also been uncovered. More information about the Shuter’s Hill site is available here.
During the Day of Archaeology, our dedicated team of volunteers continued the investigation of Shuter’s Hill. Field volunteers at the site worked long hours through the summer heat to uncover items associated with the early plantation and 19th century home. At the museum, our lab volunteers were busy washing artifacts and preparing them for identification and cataloging.
The Alexandria Archaeology Museum is free and open to the public. We can always count on a steady stream of visitors, including many students, families, tourists and local history buffs. In addition to our staff and lab volunteers, the museum was truly abuzz during this year’s Day of Archaeology!
Alexandria Archaeology Museum: http://www.alexandriava.gov/Archaeology
Shuter’s Hill Site Information: http://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/historic/info/archaeology/ARShutersHillBrochure.pdf
Hi from Esther White and Luke Pecoraro, the Director of Archaeology and Assistant Archaeologist at Mount Vernon! There is never a dull day at George Washington’s estate. A search has been underway all week for a leak in one of the modern irrigation lines. Mount Vernon was surveyed during the 1980s so we know where archaeological sites are located on our 425 acres. Despite this, when our grounds crew is looking for a leaky pipe we monitor their exploratory trenches to ensure that nothing of cultural importance is disturbed. You can see how we spent part of our afternoon in this photo.
At Mount Vernon, we have reached our final day (sad face) of an 8 week internship program devoted to different aspects of the Archaeological Collections Online initiative. Our interns came from prestigious universities around the country to take on individual research projects pertaining to the material and social worlds of planter elites like George Washington and the enslaved community upon whose labor these genteel lifestyles were based.
Here’s what our interns have to say about their work!
Katie Barca: Today I am in the process of entering decorated or marked pipes from the South Grove Midden as Objects in the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS). In the future, images of these pipes will be posted on the Mount Vernon’s Midden website.
Joe Downer: Today I am transcribing store accounts from an 18th century Virginia merchant, Alexander Henderson. By transcribing Henderson’s ledgers, researchers are better able to understand what colonists were purchasing in Northern Virginia before the Revolution, and have a greater insight into pre-revolutionary material culture.
James Bland: I’m also transcribing the Henderson store accounts, but for Alexandria instead of Colchester. Henderson worked for John Glassford and Company, who together were the Scottish Tobacco Kings of the Chesapeake region. Their records show an emerging class of non-elite consumers that didn’t exist in the early colonial period.
Leah Thomas: I am currently writing the report for my summer project, which involves research on 18th century dining objects as represented in museum collections. I am also looking into the possibility of a connection between dining vessel and utensil form variety and the Rococo art movement in the American colonies.
Sophia Farrulla: This day of archaeology has been packed with thoughts of items related to tea, coffee, and drinking chocolate. Twinnings tea in hand, I’m finishing a final write up on exotic beverages amongst the 18th century elite.
Julia Kennedy: Squirrels and Bamboo and Grapes, oh my! I’m working on drawing a small rodent decoration that appears on Washington’s (George’s or perhaps his elder half-brother Lawrence’s) Chinese export porcelain plates. Each plate was hand-painted, therefore making each curious critter unique.
Jennie Williams: I’m researching George Washington’s purchases from England between 1754 and 1772. Eventually, these data, gathered from Washington’s orders and invoices, will be available to the public through an online, searchable database.
Anna Dempsey: Today, I am working on my paper for the research I’ve done on lead shot in the archaeological and historical record. I’m also writing an entry about picking 1/16” material, including lead shot, for our blog.