Skip to comments.One Man's Trash: George Washington's Priceless Refuse
Posted on 07/09/2011 10:27:05 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
For George Washington, the first U.S. President and Revolutionary War hero, a broken chinese porcelain plate or teacup from his dining table or kitchen would go immediately and directly into his trash pit on the grounds just outside his mansion home, buried and forever forgotten. But as the saying goes, "one man's trash is another man's treasure", and well over 200 years later archaeologists would call them priceless artifacts for understanding and reconstructing history. Such was the case when an archaeological team discovered and excavated a trash pit, or "midden", just outside and south of George Washington's imposing Mount Vernon mansion house in northern Virginia.
The South Grove Midden, as it is called, was first excavated from 1990 - 1994 by archaeologists under the employ of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, the organization that owns and currently operates the George Washington estate of Mount Vernon, where his restored plantation mansion house functions as its centerpiece for visitors today. What they found was nothing short of spectacular. They uncovered more than 60,000 artifacts representing more than 400 ceramic and glass vessels, hundreds of pounds of brick, mortar and plaster fragments from renovating buildings, buckles, buttons, tobacco pipes, and more than 30,000 animal bones, remains from the meals eaten by the Washington household and their guests...
...Mount Vernon archaeologists plan to realize the achievements of the 2-year project by digitally housing it in a unique online database called Archaeological Collections Online, a holistic tool that will be available to both scholars and the public.
(Excerpt) Read more at popular-archaeology.com ...
View of the excavations at the South Grove site, Mount Vernon. Photo courtesy Mount Vernon Ladies Association.
some of the artifacts found in the midden: a tooth brush,Â wig curler, wine bottle seals and denier gauge.Â Courtesy Mount Vernon Ladies Association
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Why would George Washington have a toothbrush? Well, maybe to brush his dentures.
If these old joints were younger and I had nothing else to do, I’d love to go on these digs.
I grew up in upstate NY. In the woods we would find foundations of old cabins and dig through their old garbage pits. We found all kinds of old bottles and ceramics from the 1800s. Really fascinating.
I love using metal detectors. It’s been years though.
Cool! Thanks for the tip :)