Alexandria Archaeology Museum

Alexandria Archaeology Museum The Alexandria Archaeology Museum is a division of the City's Office of Historic Alexandria and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
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Caulking helps make ships watertight. This magnified view of the sticky substance shows the individual animal hairs and ...
02/12/2020

Caulking helps make ships watertight. This magnified view of the sticky substance shows the individual animal hairs and tar. Historically, this product has been made from hemp fiber, animal hair, and even moss. Most of the ships found along the waterfront in Alexandria have had caulking made of hair. #waterfrontwednesday

You’ve probably heard of a peck, but what about a pottle? A pottle is the missing piece of the liquid measurement system...
02/11/2020

You’ve probably heard of a peck, but what about a pottle? A pottle is the missing piece of the liquid measurement system we use today: two cups make a pint, two pints make a quart, two quarts make a pottle, and two pottles make a gallon. It derives from Old French term “potel” or little pot. It was also used to describe a conical basket used to carry berries and other delicate produce. #terminologytuesday

This week we’re taking a break from advanced ship parts to check in on CRL’s documentation progress. Last week the team ...
02/05/2020

This week we’re taking a break from advanced ship parts to check in on CRL’s documentation progress. Last week the team received a brand-new scanner that will speed up our progress. CRL is already working on scanning the last ship in need of documentation (ship 1, feature 200). #waterfrontwednesday

#Terminologytuesday Archaeologists sometimes use uncommon words when discussing the past. For example, twiffler is a pre...
02/04/2020

#Terminologytuesday Archaeologists sometimes use uncommon words when discussing the past. For example, twiffler is a pretty fun word to say and refers to a plate between the size of a dinner plate and a side/dessert plate, roughly 8 inches in diameter. The name may have its origins in the Dutch word twijfelen, meaning to be unsure or to doubt. Similarly, the Dutch word twifelaar refers to a bed size between a single and double. This shell edge pearlware twiffler is slightly bigger than 8 inches in diameter and was excavated from a brick lined shaft associated with a early 19th century cabinet shop on the 300 Block of King Street (44AX95).

Advanced Ship Parts: Ship #3 (Feature 159) from the Robinson Terminal South Site has a gripe, but luckily, it’s the ship...
01/29/2020

Advanced Ship Parts: Ship #3 (Feature 159) from the Robinson Terminal South Site has a gripe, but luckily, it’s the ship kind. The term gripe refers to a curved piece of wood joining the front of the keel to the rest of the bow assembly, helping to build out the structure of this piece #Waterfrontwednesday

In our next #waterfrontwednesday series we are going to tackle more advanced ship terms. Up first- the scupper: an openi...
01/22/2020

In our next #waterfrontwednesday series we are going to tackle more advanced ship terms. Up first- the scupper: an opening in the side of a ship that allows water to drain out. Simple concept, not so straightforward of a word.

Our volunteers are critical for helping us achieve our mission. Every year at our annual volunteer appreciation party we...
01/21/2020

Our volunteers are critical for helping us achieve our mission. Every year at our annual volunteer appreciation party we honor two outstanding individuals for their contributions to our program. This year the Anna Lynch Volunteer of the Year award went to Andrew McElwain who has worked on a wide variety of projects and is an asset to our museum family. The John S. Glaser award went to Joi Kudirka, one of our lab volunteers, who has been a huge help during our ship documentation project. #volunteersrock #weloveourvolunteers #museumsdomore

Reading maps of historic shorelines requires an understanding of what the cartographer was mapping. The line dividing wa...
01/15/2020

Reading maps of historic shorelines requires an understanding of what the cartographer was mapping. The line dividing water from land is not static and can mark the high tide line, political or legal boundaries, or the edge of the riverbank. Luckily, all is not lost. A story of Alexandria’s change and growth in the last quarter of the 18th century can be seen by combining historic maps and documents with GIS and archaeological findings. This map shows the 1774 and 1788 shorelines with the location of the 220 S. Union Ship (Feature 53) just offshore. The first is likely drawn to the high-water mark, whereas the later line likely marks the edge of the riverbank, making it falsely appear as though the land has receded. #waterfrontwednesday

A successful #sha2020 in the books! Thanks so much to all of our session participants. We loved hearing about everyone’s...
01/12/2020

A successful #sha2020 in the books! Thanks so much to all of our session participants. We loved hearing about everyone’s archaeology “down by the water”. #archaeology #saturdayafternoonstrong

Our intern Kara is presenting her poster on chamber pots, sanitation and modernity. #sha2020 #weloveourinterns #spotthep...
01/10/2020

Our intern Kara is presenting her poster on chamber pots, sanitation and modernity. #sha2020 #weloveourinterns #spotthepot

At #SHA2020 this year? Join our archaeologists for the “Urban Archaeology: Down by the Water” symposium on Saturday (1/1...
01/08/2020

At #SHA2020 this year? Join our archaeologists for the “Urban Archaeology: Down by the Water” symposium on Saturday (1/11) at 1 p.m. We’re excited to chat about ships, changing shorelines, waterfront redevelopment, and the diverse communities that grew up along the water’s edge! #waterfrontwednesday

Happy New Year! We hope you didn’t enjoy 10 pipes of champagne last night. A pipe is an old unit of measure- roughly 100...
01/01/2020

Happy New Year! We hope you didn’t enjoy 10 pipes of champagne last night. A pipe is an old unit of measure- roughly 1008 pints. Sometimes goods from around the world that made it to Alexandria first stopped at other American cities. In this 1815 advertisement, Mandeville and Larmour, a retail firm located at the corner of King and Fairfax, announce the availability of champagne and other goods often originally imported into the bigger ports of New York and Philadelphia. #waterfrontwednesday #AlexandriaandtheWorld

Take part in a preservation experiment! We’re making ship biscuits in the museum on Tuesday to commemorate the discovery...
12/30/2019

Take part in a preservation experiment! We’re making ship biscuits in the museum on Tuesday to commemorate the discovery of an almost completely intact 18th century ship’s biscuit. Will your biscuit last until 2021, or will it remain preserved for 200 years like the one found at the Robinson Terminal South Site (44AX235)? The event runs from 2 – 5 p.m. and is free while supplies last. #isitfoodthough #shipsbiscuit #STEM

People have used a variety of watercraft to navigate the Potomac. However, one of these things is not like the others. H...
12/25/2019

People have used a variety of watercraft to navigate the Potomac. However, one of these things is not like the others. Happy Holidays! We are closed today but will reopen tomorrow. #waterfrontwednesday

Happy First Night of #Hanukkah! In the 18th century, ships brought a variety of oils into Alexandria, including “Florenc...
12/22/2019

Happy First Night of #Hanukkah! In the 18th century, ships brought a variety of oils into Alexandria, including “Florence Oyl” for cooking (olive oil) and “train oyl” (whale oil) often used for lighting. This colonial customs record notes the arrival of 3 gallons of “train oyl” from Salem, Massachusetts- good for lighting, not so great for frying latkes.

Staff and volunteers have been busy researching Alexandria’s role in the cocoa/chocolate economy from 1750-1810. Histori...
12/18/2019

Staff and volunteers have been busy researching Alexandria’s role in the cocoa/chocolate economy from 1750-1810. Historical records show that cocoa was imported to Alexandria and then shipped to other cities to be manufactured into consumable chocolate. Local residents would then buy manufactured chocolate from places like Philadelphia and Boston. Records held at the National Archives include an 1806 manifest of cargo on board the Schooner Federalist coming to Alexandria from St. Thomas with 170 bags (23,625 lbs!) of cocoa. That same cocoa can be tracked to Baltimore, and then finally to Leghorn, Italy where it was likely sold across Europe. #waterfrontwednesday

Tea was consumed widely in the 18th century Anglo-American world. Vast trade networks brought Camellia sinensis (tea), o...
12/11/2019

Tea was consumed widely in the 18th century Anglo-American world. Vast trade networks brought Camellia sinensis (tea), originally from Southeast Asia, to Alexandria. The porcelain teacups, saucers, and pots used to make and drink this commodity also came from the Far East-often by way of England first. The teacup pictured, found in a privy at the Hotel Indigo Site (44AX229) is currently on display in our new exhibit “Preserving Alexandria’s Maritime Heritage” #waterfrontwednesday #alexandriaandtheworld

Fruit cake isn’t the only food that seems to last forever! In 2017, archaeologists from Thunderbird Archaeology excavate...
12/06/2019

Fruit cake isn’t the only food that seems to last forever! In 2017, archaeologists from Thunderbird Archaeology excavated an almost completely intact 18th century ship’s biscuit at the Robinson Terminal South Site (44AX235). Make your own ship’s biscuit at the museum tomorrow to commemorate the discovery! The event will run from 1 – 4 p.m. and is free while supplies last. #shipsbiscuit

Even in an age before airplanes, Alexandria was connected to a variety of locations in the Atlantic world and beyond thr...
12/04/2019

Even in an age before airplanes, Alexandria was connected to a variety of locations in the Atlantic world and beyond through trade. Our next #waterfrontwednesday series highlights some of these places and the goods that arrived in the port city from these far-flung locales.

Need a unique gift for someone special this holiday season? Ornaments featuring one of our ships are now available! Stop...
12/01/2019

Need a unique gift for someone special this holiday season? Ornaments featuring one of our ships are now available! Stop by the museum and get one today! Also available at https://shop.alexandriava.gov/ #museumstoresunday #beapatron, #iamapatron #patronofculture #shopmuseumstores

Happy Thanksgiving! Faunal analysts working on a privy (Feature 56-same one from yesterday’s post) from the Hotel Indigo...
11/28/2019

Happy Thanksgiving! Faunal analysts working on a privy (Feature 56-same one from yesterday’s post) from the Hotel Indigo Site (44AX229) found the remains of several domestic fowl, including one turkey (Meleagris gallopayo). Turkeys are indigenous to the Americas but were shipped back to the Old World by the 16th century The faunal specialists estimated that this privy bird, when alive, weighed in at around 8 pounds, much smaller than most modern domestic turkeys and not nearly enough for a Thanksgiving feast! #themoreyouknow

We’re closed tomorrow so that staff can enjoy some pumpkin pie! Specialists working on a privy possibly associated with ...
11/27/2019

We’re closed tomorrow so that staff can enjoy some pumpkin pie! Specialists working on a privy possibly associated with an 18th century warehouse (Feature 56) from the Hotel Indigo Site (44AX229) found several pumpkin seeds in the fill. There are 27 species of the Cucurbita genus (pumpkins, squashes, and some gourds) and all are native to the Americas. By the time these seeds were deposited in this privy, squash had been cultivated and used by Europeans for centuries. The earliest known reference to Cucurbita in Europe appears as a margin illustration in a French prayer book dating to the first decade of the 16th century. This document originally belonged to Queen Anne de Bretagne. #themoreyouknow #waterfrontwednesday

Happy 30th Birthday to our Archaeological Resource Protection Code! On this date in 1989, City Council passed Ordinance ...
11/18/2019

Happy 30th Birthday to our Archaeological Resource Protection Code! On this date in 1989, City Council passed Ordinance 3413 establishing the code, one of the first of its kind in the nation. Since then we’ve been everywhere from down wells to in swimming pools with ships. Check out our website for more information about the Code and the amazing discoveries it has made possible. #thecodeat30

#thecodeat30 Alexandria has had an archaeological protection code for nearly 30 years. Citizens pushed for this pioneeri...
11/15/2019

#thecodeat30 Alexandria has had an archaeological protection code for nearly 30 years. Citizens pushed for this pioneering legislation in order to protect our amazing historical and archaeological resources. Other municipalities, including Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC, and Fredericksburg, VA, are currently working to implement their own protection ordinances. Check out their efforts at https://www.fredericksburgva.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=779 https://www.savannahga.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2264
https://www.postandcourier.com/news/after-years-of-quiet-debate-charleston-sees-draft-of-a/article_28925b8c-f01d-11e9-85ad-bf44840763c2.html

It's an extra special #waterfrontwednesday! This week, John Broadwater, DHR's State Underwater Archaeologist, assisted w...
11/13/2019

It's an extra special #waterfrontwednesday! This week, John Broadwater, DHR's State Underwater Archaeologist, assisted with ship documentation. We are so grateful for all of his help and expertise with these vessels from excavation to preservation.

Happy STEM/STEAM Day! Back in the early days of the city’s archaeological protection code, City archaeologists used pape...
11/08/2019

Happy STEM/STEAM Day! Back in the early days of the city’s archaeological protection code, City archaeologists used paper maps and records (like these) to help determine the likelihood that a development project would impact significant archaeological resources. Today, we are a little more high tech and use computer based GIS (Geographic Information Systems) to help us conduct our reviews. #thecodeat30

Over the last year, archaeologists, interns, and volunteers have spent over 300 hours conducting routine maintenance to ...
11/06/2019

Over the last year, archaeologists, interns, and volunteers have spent over 300 hours conducting routine maintenance to preserve Alexandria’s merchant fleet. This doesn’t include the time we’ve spent documenting the timbers either. #keepingitclean #shipcarebasics #waterfrontwednesday

Did you know that Alexandria Archaeology is the caretaker of over 2 million artifacts from more than 150 sites? Many of ...
11/01/2019

Did you know that Alexandria Archaeology is the caretaker of over 2 million artifacts from more than 150 sites? Many of these are from code-generated projects since these items must be curated at an appropriate facility (which we happen to have). We use these collections for exhibition, research, and education, preserving them for the present and future. Interested in learning more about our collection or have a research question- check out https://www.alexandriava.gov/historic/archaeology/default.aspx?id=33502 #thecodeat30

What’s scarier than a mummy? A (likely) looted mummy! In 1829 a travelling Egyptian mummy arrived in Alexandria and was ...
10/31/2019

What’s scarier than a mummy? A (likely) looted mummy! In 1829 a travelling Egyptian mummy arrived in Alexandria and was displayed at the Indian Queen Tavern at the N.W. corner of King and St. Asaph Streets. Captain Larkin Turner had initially purchased the mummy of a woman (Djed-Khonsu-iues-ankh), who lived and died sometime between 945-720 B.C.E, in Italy in 1823. She then went on a tour of the eastern United States and was eventually purchased by P.T. Barnum’s American Museum in New York City. Sadly, the museum burned down in 1865 and this mummy is presumed lost in the fire. This article from January 8, 1829 announces the mummy’s arrival to Alexandria. #happyhalloween #mummymania

More on the non-invasive cemetery surveys!
10/25/2019
Archaeologists Searching for Hidden Graves in Local Cemeteries

More on the non-invasive cemetery surveys!

(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) While Alexandria heads out on ghosts tours for Halloween, local archaeologists are busy scouting for secret burials under two historic cemeteries. Archeologists with the city's Office of Historic Alexandria are working to pinpoint where coffins and headstones may have been

Over the past 30 years, City archaeologists have reviewed over 7,000 site plan applications. Our office has assessed the...
10/25/2019

Over the past 30 years, City archaeologists have reviewed over 7,000 site plan applications. Our office has assessed the archaeological impact of each project and has worked with applicants to preserve and manage any significant resources. This review process allows us to learn more about sites that would have otherwise been lost to development without archaeological study. #thecodeat30

During water changes, archaeologists also spray timbers down and scrub the sides of the tanks. If problem areas are disc...
10/23/2019

During water changes, archaeologists also spray timbers down and scrub the sides of the tanks. If problem areas are discovered on timbers, these are scrubbed with a toothbrush and spot-treated. This helps keep the water clearer and keeps biological growth at bay. #keepingitclean #shipcarebasics

Looking at some preliminary data from our survey at Douglass Memorial Cemetery over the past few days. Results are very ...
10/19/2019

Looking at some preliminary data from our survey at Douglass Memorial Cemetery over the past few days. Results are very promising.

Starting at Penny Hill this morning!

Today is #InternationalArchaeologyDay! Stop by the museum between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to see our public lab where archaeo...
10/19/2019

Today is #InternationalArchaeologyDay! Stop by the museum between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to see our public lab where archaeologists and volunteers are washing artifacts from Shuter’s Hill. Also, be sure to check out our new exhibit “Preserving Alexandria’s Maritime Heritage” #IAD2019

We're wraping up our survey of Douglass Memorial Cemetery this afternoon.
10/18/2019

We're wraping up our survey of Douglass Memorial Cemetery this afternoon.

In exactly one month, Alexandria’s archaeological protection code turns the big 3-0! To celebrate we are going to share ...
10/18/2019

In exactly one month, Alexandria’s archaeological protection code turns the big 3-0! To celebrate we are going to share some of the code’s successes in the next few weeks. Did you know that you can find hundreds of reports for archaeological research conducted in the city online? Check out https://www.alexandriava.gov/historic/archaeology/default.aspx?id=33552 to learn more about Alexandria’s rich archaeological heritage from the waterfront to the West End and beyond. #thecodeat30

Survey work at Douglass Memorial Cemetery (established in 1895) continues this morning. Consultant and archaeology PhD c...
10/17/2019

Survey work at Douglass Memorial Cemetery (established in 1895) continues this morning. Consultant and archaeology PhD candidate Nadia Johnson pushes this radar instrument, which can identify burials in the ground, even if no headstones are present.

We are working with a research consultant to conduct a non-invasive geophysical survey of historic Penny Hill and Dougla...
10/17/2019

We are working with a research consultant to conduct a non-invasive geophysical survey of historic Penny Hill and Douglass Memorial cemeteries. At both sites, the number of historically documented burials far outnumbers the still standing markers. In order to properly care for these sacred spaces, it is important to know where burials exist. This type of survey provides a way of identifying potential burial locations without disturbing them. The project is partially funded through a Certified Local Government grant from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. For more information check out https://www.alexandriava.gov/historic/archaeology/default.aspx?id=111769

We must change the water in our tanks and pools at least once a month to keep biological growth down on the over 1,000 t...
10/16/2019

We must change the water in our tanks and pools at least once a month to keep biological growth down on the over 1,000 timbers. #keepingitclean #shipcarebasics #waterfrontwednesday

Celebrate Virginia Archaeology Month with the opening of Alexandria Archaeology’s newest exhibit from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. o...
10/11/2019

Celebrate Virginia Archaeology Month with the opening of Alexandria Archaeology’s newest exhibit from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 19, 2019! Recent development along the waterfront has led to significant discoveries by archaeologists, including the remains of four historic ships. Follow the story of the city’s archaeologically recovered maritime heritage from excavation to preservation! #VirginiaArchaeologyMonth #ShipsHappeninAlexandria

Address

105 North Union Street #327
Alexandria, VA
22314

King Street Trolley, DASH bus and the Water Taxi from National Harbor

Opening Hours

Wednesday 10:00 - 15:00
Thursday 10:00 - 15:00
Friday 10:00 - 15:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 13:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(703) 746-4399

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The Alexandria Archaeology Museum is dedicated to preserving and studying Alexandria’s rich archaeological heritage and fostering within residents and visitors a connection between the past and present while inspiring a sense of stewardship and adventure.


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Happy Birthday: Dorothy Annie Elizabeth Garrod, CBE, FBA (5 May 1892 – 18 December 1968) was a British archaeologist who was the first woman to hold an Oxbridge chair, partly through her pioneering work on the Palaeolithic period. To see more go to: https://www.facebook.com/sciencerhymes/
Archaeology in the River Duero Valley. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Editor(s): Jose Carlos Sastre Blanco, Óscar Rodríguez-Monterrubio, Patricia Fuentes Melgar:
I would like to request a brochure on The Alexandria Archeology Museum. My address is: 308 W. Elm St, Warren, Arkansas 71671. I hope to hear from you real soon! John Huerta 308 W. Elm St. Warren, Arkansas 71671
Boy scout troop 368 would like to thank and highly recommend the great team of archaeologists, Mr Garrett and Miss Emma for teaching our scouts about archeology. We had such an amazing time. I cannot believe how much we learned by hands on in 1 day. Both Garrett and Emma were exceptional in their knowledge and patience explaining everything. And answering every question we had. They also provided us with a scavenger hunt of old town alexandria ( done by an eagle scout I might add) and we had a great time exploring the city. If you have a scout troop looking for a great merit badge to work now, here it is. Contact Mr Garrett and he will hook you up! And don't forget ms emma, I want to see what you uncover under that rock!!!