Archaeology Update: Washington’s former townhome featured by C-SPAN

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Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg high fives Rick Garcia, owner of 123 S. Pitt St. townhouse.
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By Missy Schrott | [email protected]

The house George Washington and his family built at 123 S. Pitt St. continues to deliver timeless treasures and draw attention not only throughout the city, but from across the country.

Rick Garcia, the house’s owner, discovered two wells and a cistern under his living room when he began construction on a basement.

Since the initial discoveries, the archaeology project has snowballed, attracting a range of visitors from Mount Vernon Estate to historians and city leaders, including Mayor Allison Silberberg.

The archaeological dig also recently attracted national attention from television network C-SPAN. Garcia said the network contacted him in early March about filming a documentary on the archaeological digs. He said Mark Farkas, a C-SPAN producer, was interested in the dig process and in the historic Washington family documents Garcia has collected.

Filming began March 15 at Garcia’s house and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum in the Torpedo Factory. The documentary will explore the work of city and Mount Vernon Estate archaeologists, artifacts found during the excavation and the history behind the house.

Back at the dig, Mount Vernon Archaeologists are finishing up sifting through what they classified as Level Eight of Well One. Garcia said archaeologists think Well One is the older of the two wells, as it is deeper – 11.5 feet – and sealed on the bottom by a brick lining.

So far, artifacts found in Level Eight include five chamber pots, three shoes, cups, saucers, seeds, bones, glass shards, glass stemware, marbles, buttons and other clothing segments. This week, Well One also yielded plates, cups, bottles, bones and oyster shells, along with grape seeds, apple seeds, cherry seeds and peach pits.

Garcia and archaeologists on Monday delivered the final buckets of soil to Mount Vernon so artifacts can be processed, washed, classified and catalogued. More than 55 five-gallon buckets of dirt were removed from the final three and a half feet of the well.

Stay tuned – the Times will continue to update the public on the excavation at 123 S. Pitt St

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