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Eleanor E. Breen Named Alexandria’s City Archaeologist

Eleanor E. Breen Named Alexandria’s City Archaeologist

Eleanor E. Breen, City ArchaeologistCity Manager Mark B. Jinks has announced the appointment of Eleanor E. Breen as City Archaeologist for the City of Alexandria, effective April 23.

Breen joined the City in 2016 as a staff archaeologist in the Office of Historic Alexandria, and became acting City Archaeologist in 2017. Most recently, she has been closely involved in the archaeological exploration at Fort Ward Park, the discovery of three historic ships and thousands of other small artifacts at the Robinson Landing site in 2018, and the conservation at Texas A&M University of the ship discovered at the Hotel Indigo site in 2015.

“This is an exciting time for archaeology in Alexandria,” said Jinks. “In addition to Eleanor’s professional expertise and leadership in Alexandria’s active preservation community, she has a gift for helping the public understand complex technical issues and the overall importance of archaeology in our historic city.”

Prior to joining the City, Breen served in increasing leadership roles in archaeology at George Washington’s Mount Vernon from 2001 to 2016, culminating with her appointment as Deputy Director of Archaeology.

Breen earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the College of William and Mary; a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston; and a doctoral degree in anthropology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has authored or co-authored dozens of publications and conference presentations. Breen currently serves as president of the Council of Virginia Archaeologists and is recognized on the national Register of Professional Archaeologists.

In 1977, Alexandria added a full-time staff archaeologist position and became the first city in the United States to establish an archaeological commission. In 1989, City Council adopted one of the nation’s first ordinances requiring the protection of archaeological artifacts during residential and commercial excavation. Today, the City Archaeologist directs the nationally accredited Alexandria Archaeology Museum, leads a small team of staff archaeologists and educators and a cadre of hundreds of community volunteers, and works with private archaeologists and developers to protect artifacts pursuant to the Alexandria Archaeological Code.  The City Archaeologist also serves as the primary staff liaison to the Alexandria Archaeological Commission and the Friends of Alexandria Archaeology. The City’s archaeology program represents over 40 years of archaeological investigation, research, and dissemination; more than 200 recorded archaeological sites and two million artifacts and associated primary records; and volumes of documentary research.

For more information about Alexandria Archaeology, visit

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