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

Once the 3D printed pieces representing the archaeologically recovered remains were assembled, model maker Glenn Grieco ...
06/05/2019

Once the 3D printed pieces representing the archaeologically recovered remains were assembled, model maker Glenn Grieco used his extensive knowledge of 18th century ship building techniques, and some trial and error (and luck) to refine the preliminary set of lines. From these, he created the model’s wireframe using 1/8-inch square section low carbon steel rod and a custom bending jig. The wireframe includes the midship frame, several sections forward and aft, the horizontal 10-foot waterline, and the sheer line running across the top of the sections. #waterfrontwednesday

Attaching the outer hull planking to the model required some creative thinking since the model could not be removed from...
05/29/2019

Attaching the outer hull planking to the model required some creative thinking since the model could not be removed from its cradle without disturbing the shape of the hull. The model maker overcame this problem by lining the inside of the ship with aluminum foil and then adding expanding foam insulation and wooden shims into the interior to make the hull more rigid. The model could then be turned upside down and the rubberized 3D printed planks attached starting at the keel and moving out. #waterfrontwednesday

It’s #nationalmaritimeday! We definitely have more than our fair share of maritime archaeology here in Alexandria! Onc...
05/22/2019

It’s #nationalmaritimeday! We definitely have more than our fair share of maritime archaeology here in Alexandria! Once all the 3D printed timbers were ready, model-maker Glenn Grieco carefully built the scale model of the ship found at the Hotel Indigo using the set of lines produced earlier. He attached the frames to the keel using 1/16 inch brass wire and epoxy. Once the metal skeleton was assembled, Grieco adjusted the position and angle of the timbers to fair the remains before adding the hull planking.

Model maker Glenn Grieco used the ship lines to construct a jig to hold the 3D printed timbers. He also sanded any burrs...
05/15/2019

Model maker Glenn Grieco used the ship lines to construct a jig to hold the 3D printed timbers. He also sanded any burrs or other imperfections and filled in voids with a two-part epoxy. Timbers that were too big for the 3D printer were printed in two pieces and spliced together to hide the seams. #Waterfrontwednesday

May is Jewish American Heritage Month! Some of Alexandria’s first Jewish residents lived and worked along the King Str...
05/14/2019

May is Jewish American Heritage Month! Some of Alexandria’s first Jewish residents lived and worked along the King Street corridor in the mid-19th century. Wells and privies associated with these families were found during salvage archaeological work on the 500 block of King prior to its redevelopment. This green and black transfer printed whiteware plate depicting the town of Transberg in Germany was found in a well/privy associated with a German Jewish household living and working at 522-524 King Street in the second half of the 19th century.

The first step in creating the ship model involves 3D laser scanning each individual timber and reassembling these image...
05/08/2019

The first step in creating the ship model involves 3D laser scanning each individual timber and reassembling these images into a virtual model of the vessel remains. Dr. Chris Dostal at Texas A&M University’s Analytical Archaeology Lab then extracted a preliminary set of lines from the digitally reassembled remains. #waterfrontwednesday

Did you know that Alexandria Archaeology isn’t the only archaeology lab in town? We’re excited to spend this Thursda...
05/07/2019

Did you know that Alexandria Archaeology isn’t the only archaeology lab in town? We’re excited to spend this Thursday night with Kevin Bradley from the Alexandria Veterans Curation Program. He will be talking about their program and lab, and how they work with veterans to rehabilitate archaeological collections. Come hang out with us! Tickets are on sale now at shop.alexandriava.gov.

Our volunteer and staff educators reached over 4000 students last year with out Ship Science Lesson alone! It's always a...
05/07/2019

Our volunteer and staff educators reached over 4000 students last year with out Ship Science Lesson alone! It's always a welcome surprise to receive thank you letters from students after a visit. If you'd like to become a volunteer educator or book a school program email [email protected]

May the Fourth be with you! Today’s “artifact” dates to a long time ago and is originally from a galaxy far, far a...
05/04/2019

May the Fourth be with you! Today’s “artifact” dates to a long time ago and is originally from a galaxy far, far away outside of the bounds of the City of Alexandria.

This “The Emperor” action figure was accidentally unearthed in the 1990s from a garden bed behind the childhood home of one of our staff archaeologists, a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one. The plastic Sith Lord was produced in 1983 by Kenner and released as a part of the second wave of the Return of the Jedi toy line. It was originally packaged with a plastic walking stick or cane, but subsequent “excavations” in the garden bed did not recover this accessory. While not from a traditional archaeological site, this toy offers some clues as to the previous occupants of the home. Alexandria Archaeology and the Emperor would like to remind people to limit their backyard archaeology to similar accidental garden excavation so that our rich archaeological heritage is not damaged or lost, as the Emperor is not as forgiving as we are. #MayThe4thBeWithYou #StarWarsDay #MayTheFourthBeWithYou

Join us for our next Archaeology After Dark lecture next Thursday (5/9). Archaeology Lab Manger Kevin Bradley introduces...
05/02/2019

Join us for our next Archaeology After Dark lecture next Thursday (5/9). Archaeology Lab Manger Kevin Bradley introduces the Veteran’s Curation Program (VCP) and its unique mission to serve military veterans and rehabilitate at-risk United States Army Corps of Engineers produced archaeological collections. He will highlight the programs preservation efforts of the Fort Delaware Civil War prison camp collection.

A lot of work went into our new scale model of the ship found at the Hotel Indigo site (44AX229). Join us over the next ...
05/01/2019

A lot of work went into our new scale model of the ship found at the Hotel Indigo site (44AX229). Join us over the next few weeks to learn more about this process, the challenges encountered, and the new information we’ve learned about the vessel. #waterfrontwednesday #SaveOurFuttocks

The 20th century brought more changes to Alexandria’s waterfront. Earlier businesses and industrial ventures shifted a...
04/24/2019

The 20th century brought more changes to Alexandria’s waterfront. Earlier businesses and industrial ventures shifted again to reflect the city’s new position post WWII. The Robinson Terminal South block housed a paper warehouse used by the @washingtonpost until a few years ago. Many of the late 19th and early 20th century buildings on this block were built on slab foundations which helped preserve the older 18th century remains beneath. #waterfrontwednesday

Hi, I'm Mariela and today is the last day of my Collections Management internship. It’s been an amazing and highly rew...
04/19/2019

Hi, I'm Mariela and today is the last day of my Collections Management internship. It’s been an amazing and highly rewarding experience! My main project was to draft a new Emergency Preparedness Plan. With disasters increasing in frequency and severity, as museum professionals, it is our responsibility to prepare our staff and our collections for the unexpected. A huge thank you to the Alexandria Archaeology Museum personnel for having me and for giving me this great opportunity!

Learn more about Mount Vernon and Alexandria’s past on a special From Slavery to Freedom Bus Tour. Tour begins at Moun...
04/18/2019

Learn more about Mount Vernon and Alexandria’s past on a special From Slavery to Freedom Bus Tour. Tour begins at Mount Vernon with a special viewing with exhibit curators of Mount Vernon’s new exhibition, Lives Bound Together, on slavery at George Washington’s plantation. Afterwards, visitors will walk to Mount Vernon’s Slave Cemetery for a site talk by archeologists, followed by a lunchtime lecture (box lunch provided). After lunch, guests will board a bus to Alexandria and visit Freedom House Museum, once part of the headquarters for the largest domestic slave trading firm in the United States, and then on to Alexandria’s Contraband and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial, the burial ground for over 1700 contrabands (escaped slaves). For tickets https://shop.alexandriava.gov/Events.aspx

#WaterfrontIndustriesSeries. In the mid-19th century, the Pioneer Mills flour mill located on the waterfront between Duk...
04/17/2019

#WaterfrontIndustriesSeries. In the mid-19th century, the Pioneer Mills flour mill located on the waterfront between Duke and Wolfe Streets, required thousands of empty barrels. To meet this demand the company built a 30 foot by 100-foot, two story, brick, coopers shop that employed 25 to 30 coopers. Unfortunately, this large operation lay idle as the mill waited for the wheat crop to be harvested. This circa 1864 photo shows the coopers shop (white building to the left) and Pioneer Mills to the right. #waterfrontwednesday #themoreyouknow

Alexandria Archaeology Museum's cover photo
04/11/2019

Alexandria Archaeology Museum's cover photo

Thank you for helping our friends rescue their reel during Spring2ACTion 2019. Your generous contributions will go a lon...
04/11/2019

Thank you for helping our friends rescue their reel during Spring2ACTion 2019. Your generous contributions will go a long way towards conserving this important artifact.

Boost your impact by donating to rescue our reel between 7 and 8 p.m.! Rescue our Reel during the Spring2Action 2019 pow...
04/10/2019

Boost your impact by donating to rescue our reel between 7 and 8 p.m.! Rescue our Reel during the Spring2Action 2019 power hour. http://bit.ly/TeamWater

Your city archaeologists are part of #teamwater. Help us reach our Spring2ACTion fundraising goal for the Prettyman fire...
04/10/2019

Your city archaeologists are part of #teamwater. Help us reach our Spring2ACTion fundraising goal for the Prettyman firehose reel and we'll release more of our silly "glamour" shots. http://bit.ly/TeamWater

Tomorrow is Spring2ACTion! Join Team Water as we share interesting water facts throughout the day to 1) take down Team Fire and 2) raise funds for the restoration of the Friendship Firehouse Hose Reel. http://bit.ly/TeamWater

You won't want to miss this Happy Hour!
04/10/2019

You won't want to miss this Happy Hour!

Alexandria’s fate has always been dictated by its relationship to water. This glass watch fob intaglio recovered at th...
04/10/2019

Alexandria’s fate has always been dictated by its relationship to water. This glass watch fob intaglio recovered at the Hotel Indigo Site (44AX229) has a fouled anchor on it highlighting the city’s connection with the broader maritime world. #TeamWater http://bit.ly/TeamWater

We’re no strangers to flooding here in Alexandria so let those sweet donations flow in for #TeamWater for Spring2ACTio...
04/10/2019

We’re no strangers to flooding here in Alexandria so let those sweet donations flow in for #TeamWater for Spring2ACTion 2019. http://bit.ly/TeamWater

Preserving and stabilizing historic ships requires A LOT of water- help us help our friends at Friendship Firehouse Muse...
04/08/2019

Preserving and stabilizing historic ships requires A LOT of water- help us help our friends at Friendship Firehouse Museum rescue their reel! #teamwater. http://bit.ly/TeamWater

04/06/2019

Some amazing shoreline engineering #womeninSTEM #futureengineers #saveourshipALX #alexandriaarchaeology #extraordinaryALX

Join us this Friday and Saturday for the rare opportunity to see Alexandria’s historic ships! The bow stem of the bigg...
04/04/2019

Join us this Friday and Saturday for the rare opportunity to see Alexandria’s historic ships! The bow stem of the biggest ship found will be on display and city archaeologists will be on hand to answer all of your questions! More details about the Fire and Water event at https://shop.alexandriava.gov/SelectEvent.aspx?eventid=6000416

We saw this neat iron fastener today sticking out of one of the wooden frames from Ship 1 (Feature 200). This metal spik...
04/03/2019

We saw this neat iron fastener today sticking out of one of the wooden frames from Ship 1 (Feature 200). This metal spike would have been made by hand by a blacksmith and held this wooden rib securely to the keel. Check out the barbs cut into the fastener that would have helped to keep it from backing out as the timbers moved and flexed on the water. #saveourshipALX #waterfrontwednesday #youdontwantyourshiptofallapart #keepitawayfromthesideofthepool

Alexandria Archaeology Museum's cover photo
03/29/2019

Alexandria Archaeology Museum's cover photo

Alexandria Archaeology Museum's cover photo
03/29/2019

Alexandria Archaeology Museum's cover photo

Alexandria Archaeology Museum's cover photo
03/29/2019

Alexandria Archaeology Museum's cover photo

The inaguaral Alexandria After Dark with Char McCargo Bah and Fran Bromberg has a sold out crowd! Char Bah's work has fo...
03/28/2019

The inaguaral Alexandria After Dark with Char McCargo Bah and Fran Bromberg has a sold out crowd! Char Bah's work has found over 1,000 descendents of Alexandria's Freedmen's Cemetery. If you missed out, we still have tickets to our May and June events in the After Dark series.

It's opening day! Check out this week's Out of the Attic (pg.44) to learn more about early 20th century baseball in Alex...
03/28/2019
alextimes.com

It's opening day! Check out this week's Out of the Attic (pg.44) to learn more about early 20th century baseball in Alexandria. This 1927 aerial image with an overlaid 1921 map shows Baggett's Field, which was the "best field" in the City.

Commercial fishing and fish processing were major industries in Alexandria in the 18th and 19th centuries. The port’s ...
03/27/2019

Commercial fishing and fish processing were major industries in Alexandria in the 18th and 19th centuries. The port’s location on the Potomac meant easy access to fish, particularly shad and herring, which was packed into barrels of salt and exported. Archaeologists working at 44AX235 (Robinson Terminal South block) have found fish bones, scales, and otoliths, “ear stones” in many of the excavated features. Can you spot any fish scales? Hint: look for their telltale half-moon shape. Further analysis may provide more information on what kinds of fish were caught and processed on the block.

This special bus tour begins at Mount Vernon with a special viewing of Mount Vernon’s new exhibition, Lives Bound Toge...
03/26/2019

This special bus tour begins at Mount Vernon with a special viewing of Mount Vernon’s new exhibition, Lives Bound Together, on slavery at George Washington’s plantation. The tour will be conducted by exhibit curators. Afterwards, visitors will walk to Mount Vernon’s Slave Cemetery for a site talk by archaeologists, followed by a lunchtime lecture (box lunch provided). After lunch, guests will board a bus to Alexandria and visit Freedom House Museum, once part of the headquarters for the largest domestic slave trading firm in the United States, and then on to Alexandria’s Contraband and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial, the burial ground for over 1700 contrabands (escaped slaves). The tour will conclude at Mount Vernon at 4 p.m. Tickets at shop.alexandriava.gov.

We are so proud of Emma!
03/26/2019

We are so proud of Emma!

We are excited to share that Emma Richardson from the Alexandria Archaeology Museum was named Virginia’s Museum Educator of the year by the Virginia Association of Museums. Congratulations Emma!

Securing sources of clean water was a concern for many early Alexandrians and still is a major concern today. The conseq...
03/22/2019

Securing sources of clean water was a concern for many early Alexandrians and still is a major concern today. The consequences of not having access to clean water can be very serious. Archaeologists specializing in parasites studied soil samples from the Hotel Indigo Site (44AX229). Feature 56, a wood-lined, rectangular privy possibly associated with Carlyle Warehouse showed evidence of roundworm and whipworm. Both parasites can be transmitted from contaminated water sources, which was a common issue before indoor plumbing. The parasites cause severe gastrointestinal stress and can even be fatal. By the 1850s, some Alexandria residents had the option to get clean water through a private water company. #worldwaterday #themoreyouknow Alexandria Renew Enterprises

Rope making was a critical industry for a port city like Alexandria. Rope walks like the one at Jones Point were typical...
03/20/2019

Rope making was a critical industry for a port city like Alexandria. Rope walks like the one at Jones Point were typically housed in long buildings built to fit the full length of each rope made there. In 1810, Alexandria had three rope walks, producing 400 tons of rope! Ahead of construction improvements to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, archaeologists found two parallel lines of post holes suggesting a long narrow structure, likely evidence of the Jones Point rope walk. This series of images shows the location of the ropewalk in 1853, the archaeological evidence of the structure, and a painting depicting the operation of a 19th century rope walk. #waterfrontwednesday

Alexandria archaeologists wrestle with sacrificial planking this morning while changing out the water in the tanks and p...
03/19/2019

Alexandria archaeologists wrestle with sacrificial planking this morning while changing out the water in the tanks and pools holding three eighteenth-century ships recovered from Alexandria’s waterfront.

In case you missed it! Learn more about how we are keeping the ship timbers stable.
03/18/2019
Robinson Terminal South Update: Ship Preservation at the Bus Barn

In case you missed it! Learn more about how we are keeping the ship timbers stable.

Where are they now? City archaeologists and volunteers in our museum frequently get this question about the three ships excavated in 2018 from the former site of Robinson Terminal South.

Happy #PiDay! The size and shape of a vessel can show what it was originally used for. Archaeologists use rim diameter c...
03/14/2019

Happy #PiDay! The size and shape of a vessel can show what it was originally used for. Archaeologists use rim diameter charts to measure the finished edge of vessels. Even a small sherd like this one can be measured to show that the vessel was originally six inches in diameter. You can then use pi to calculate the circumference and area.

Today's Google Doodle for the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web inspired us to track down Alexandria Archaeology’...
03/12/2019

Today's Google Doodle for the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web inspired us to track down Alexandria Archaeology’s first steps into the world of the internet. This piece of modern tech history from 1994 shows the City’s first homepage. Alexandria’s Model Electronic Community even had its own section for Alexandria Archaeology! #web30

Join the Friends of Fairfax County Archaeology and the Fairfax County Park Authority for a symposium exploring the archa...
03/09/2019

Join the Friends of Fairfax County Archaeology and the Fairfax County Park Authority for a symposium exploring the archaeology of slave life. City Archaeologist Eleanor Breen and the Director of the Black History Museum Audrey Davis will reflect on five years of commemorating Freedmen’s Cemetery. Saturday, March 16, 2019 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Registration is required. For more information http://www.gunstonhall.org/index.php/8-uncategorised/events/73-archaeology-symposium

Waterfront industries series: Happy #NationalDentistsDay! You might need a visit to the dentist if you had to eat hardta...
03/06/2019

Waterfront industries series: Happy #NationalDentistsDay! You might need a visit to the dentist if you had to eat hardtack every day. This dense, tough historic cracker was a military staple during the Civil War and was also eaten on long ship voyages. In 2017, archaeologists found this nearly complete piece of hardtack during excavations at 44AX235 (the future site of Robinson Landing). Historic documents indicate that after the death of her husband James in 1786, Bridget Kirk advertised a bakehouse on this block and Anderson and Jamieson Company leased it the following year: “Andrew Jamieson and Company…beg leave to inform the public that they will continue the biscuit-baking business, under the name of Anderson and Jamieson. They have for sale, all sorts of ship bread, and fine small bread, at Mrs. Kirk’s bake-house, near the distillery, also at their bake-house, opposite the [illegible] Office” [Virginia Journal and Alexandria Advertiser April 26, 1787]. #waterfrontwednesday

Conservation in action at TAMU's Conservation Research Lab!
03/04/2019

Conservation in action at TAMU's Conservation Research Lab!

We had an awesome bunch of visitors from Alexandria Archaeology at the lab today: chief archaeologist Eleanor Breen and city archaeologists Benjamin Skolnik and Tatiana Niculescu. The timbers from the Alexandria wreck must undergo desalination and chelation (removing the iron) before being loaded into the freeze dryer pictured here.

To learn more about the project, check out our website, which discusses the documentation and conservation process for the ship: http://nautarch.tamu.edu/CRL/Alexandria/

Address

105 North Union Street #327
Alexandria, VA
22314

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

Opening Hours

Tuesday 09:00 - 15:00
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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