Mount Vernon

Archaeologists Find Cache of Bottles Buried at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

This follows the discovery of two similar artifacts in April

Photo: Mount Vernon Ladies Association

ALEXANDRIA, VA-Following a discovery in April, archaeologists have found more ancient bottles at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. This time, the cache is much larger: 35, 29 of which are completely intact. They contain perfectly preserved cherries and blueberries. likely gooseberries or currants.

Both finds are part of a $40 million privately funded Mission Revitalization Project. This project will “safeguard the Mansion’s original building fabric and ensure its structural integrity for generations to come,” according to the project page.

These extraordinary discoveries continue to astonish us,” said Mount Vernon’s Principal Archaeologist Jason Boroughs. “These perfectly preserved fruits picked and prepared more than 250 years ago provide an incredibly rare opportunity to contribute to our knowledge of the 18th-century environment, plantation foodways, and the origins of American cuisine.

The artifacts have probably been buried since before the American Revolution

Photo: Mount Vernon Ladies Association

The contents of each bottle were removed carefully, are now refrigerated, and will undergo scientific analysis. The bottles themselves are drying at the Mount Vernon archaeology lab and will be sent off-site for conservation. Mount Vernon has partnered with the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service for the analysis.

Mount Vernon CEO and President Doug Bradburn said the find two months ago was exciting “but just the beginning of a blockbuster discovery.”

While speaking about the possibility of future germination of the contents, he added: “To our knowledge, this is an unprecedented find and nothing of this scale and significance has ever been excavated in North America.”

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Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He also studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting and holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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