Archaeologists Just Made a ‘Spectacular’ Discovery at George Washington’s Home

Archaeologists at Founding Father George Washington’s former residence have made a fascinating discovery.

According to Mount Vernon’s website, archaeologists made an “unprecedented discovery” of pre-Revolutionary War artifacts including 35 bottles of perfectly preserved cherries and berries.

The museum said in a press release:

Archaeologists at George Washington’s Mount Vernon have unearthed an astounding 35 glass bottles from the 18th century in five storage pits in the Mansion cellar of the nation’s first president. Of the 35 bottles, 29 are intact and contain perfectly preserved cherries and berries, likely gooseberries or currants. The contents of each bottle have been carefully extracted, are under refrigeration at Mount Vernon, and will undergo scientific analysis. The bottles are slowly drying in the Mount Vernon archaeology lab and will be sent off-site for conservation.

This discovery follows a recent find in the cellar of two intact European-manufactured 18th-century glass bottles containing liquid, cherries, and pits. These archaeological finds are part of the landmark privately funded $40 million Mansion Revitalization Project at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Mount Vernon President & CEO Doug Bradburn said that he could never have imagined such a “spectacular” discovery:

Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine this spectacular archaeological discovery. We were ecstatic last month to uncover two fully intact 18th-century bottles containing biological matter. Now we know those bottles were just the beginning of this blockbuster discovery. To our knowlege, this is an unprecedented find and nothing of this scale and significance has ever been excavated in North America.

We now possess a bounty of artifacts and matter to analyze that may provide a powerful glimpse into the origins of our nation, and we are crossing our fingers that the cherry pits discovered will be viable for future germination. It’s so appropriate that these bottles have been unearthed shortly before the 250th anniversary of the United States.

These artifacts likely haven’t seen the light of day since before the American Revolution, perhaps forgotten when George Washington departed Mount Vernon to take command of the Continental Army. This means the bottles are extremely fragile and require the utmost care.

Mount Vernon Principal Archaeologist Jason Boroughs described many of the fruits as “perfectly preserved,” despite sitting there for around 250 years:

These extraordinary discoveries continue to astonish us. 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 bottles and contents are a testament to the knowledge and skill of the enslaved people who managed the food preparations from tree to table, including Doll, the cook brought to Mount Vernon by Martha Washington in 1759 and charged with oversight of the estate’s kitchen.

Located in Virginia around 15 miles outside of Washington D.C., Mount Vernon was the 8,000 acre home of George Washington. It served as Washington’s residence for over 45 years and played a central role in his life. The estate has been meticulously preserved and remains an important symbol of American history and independence.

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Ben Kew is a writer and editor. Originally from the UK, he moved to the U.S. to cover Congress for Breitbart News and has since gone on to editorial roles at Human Events, Townhall Media, and Americano Media. He has also written for The Epoch Times, The Western Journal, and The Spectator.

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