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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Operating as usual

Commemorative ware is a name used by archaeologists to describe a decorative type of pottery that is made to celebrate, ...
12/31/2020

Commemorative ware is a name used by archaeologists to describe a decorative type of pottery that is made to celebrate, honor, or remember something or someone. Archaeologists in Alexandria have found many examples of commemorative ware that were made and used in our city, such as 19th century artifacts recognizing Alexandria’s role as a port city. Reflect on this past year by creating your own commemorative plate or cup, like the one’s seen in our collections. https://youtu.be/ny5M-FQ_xm4

#WaterfrontWednesday Cross Canal was one of several African American neighborhoods near Oronoco Bay. The Berg or Grantvi...
12/30/2020

#WaterfrontWednesday Cross Canal was one of several African American neighborhoods near Oronoco Bay. The Berg or Grantville refer to roughly the same part of the city. The different and changing names reflect both the flow of people in and out of the area and Alexandria’s changing racial politics. The Berg likely refers to Petersburg the place from where many residents fled from during the Civil War. You’d think that Grantville may simply refer to General Ulysses S. Grant, but it’s also possible that there is a more local connection. Peter Grant, a shoemaker, is said to have built the first house in the area. By 1863, the neighborhood was home to 100 households and was in the process of building a school house. To learn more about other sites on the African American Waterfront Heritage trail check out the new virtual tour! https://alexgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=47a6a8e8942643f0ae499140f55c598f

#WaterfrontWednesday Before the Civil War the Cross Canal neighborhood was a quiet rural area surrounding the Alexandria...
12/23/2020

#WaterfrontWednesday Before the Civil War the Cross Canal neighborhood was a quiet rural area surrounding the Alexandria Canal. After the war, the area attracted African American individuals and families searching for affordable housing close to the wharves and factories in the area. Some of the best descriptions we have of this area come from Virginia Knapper’s oral history collected in 1982. To learn more about other sites on the African American Waterfront Heritage Trail check out the new virtual tour! https://alexgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=47a6a8e8942643f0ae499140f55c598f

Historic Alexandria, VA
12/21/2020

Historic Alexandria, VA

Due to the dramatic increase in positive COVID-19 cases in Alexandria and across the region, Historic Alexandria museums will close starting Tuesday, December 22 until further notice. Luckily, history doesn’t stop just because our doors are closed! Visit alexandriava.gov/Historic and follow us on social media to discover new things about your hometown. #HistoricALX2U

#WaterfrontWednesday At the beginning of the 20th century, Alexandria was home to several glass factories, including the...
12/16/2020

#WaterfrontWednesday At the beginning of the 20th century, Alexandria was home to several glass factories, including the Old Dominion Glass Works located on Montgomery Street between Lee and Fairfax. Before the advent of fully automated glass making, the industry relied heavily on child and teenage labor, especially for the less skilled parts of the process. Young African Americans, like 13-year-old Charles Taylor, 17-year-old Abraham Lomax, Jr., 15-year-old Lawrence Dawkins, 16-year-old Lloyd Montgomery Arnold, and 14-year-old Henry Anderson, worked at this glass factory or others in Alexandria, probably making no more than 10 cents an hour. To learn more about other sites on the African American Waterfront Heritage trail check out the new virtual tour! https://alexgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=47a6a8e8942643f0ae499140f55c598f

#WaterfrontWednesday Free and enslaved African Americans played an important role in connecting Alexandria to the backco...
12/09/2020

#WaterfrontWednesday Free and enslaved African Americans played an important role in connecting Alexandria to the backcountry, leading to the economic enrichment of the port city. The Alexandria Canal entered the Potomac River at the foot of Montgomery Street and then crossed over the Potomac River to Georgetown at Rosslyn via the aqueduct bridge. Enslaved laborers likely built much of the canal between 1832 and 1845. The aqueduct bridge required a great deal of timber, some of which was brought to Georgetown by the schooner Llewelyn, owned by Alexandria Sally W. Griffith. An enslaved man, George Henry, captained this ship, bringing heavy 45-50 foot long oak logs to the construction site. To learn more about other sites on the African American Waterfront Heritage trail check out the new virtual tour! https://alexgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=47a6a8e8942643f0ae499140f55c598f

📷The Tide Lock of the Alexandria Canal at Alexandria during the Civil War, ca. 1863, by Mathew Brady. (Courtesy, National Archives and Records Administration, 529387.

#WaterfrontWednesday West’s Point: In 1732, a small tobacco inspection station was built at the foot of what is now Oron...
12/02/2020

#WaterfrontWednesday West’s Point: In 1732, a small tobacco inspection station was built at the foot of what is now Oronoco Street. This was the start of what would later become Alexandria. By 1738, Hugh West acquired the point and warehouses. West enslaved several individuals who performed the hard labor of processing hogsheads of tobacco, running a ferry across to Maryland, and working in his tavern. Chloe, Molly, and Sue likely did the tavern’s washing, cleaning, and cooking, while Harry, Tom, and Bob rolled and loaded hogsheads. The labor of these men and women enriched Hugh West, while providing them with no benefit. To learn more about other sites on the African American Waterfront Heritage trail check out the new virtual tour. https://alexgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=47a6a8e8942643f0ae499140f55c598f

Help support the preservation of our amazing maritime heritage through the Virginia Archaeological Charitable Trust! Thi...
12/01/2020
Preserving Alexandria’s Maritime Heritage

Help support the preservation of our amazing maritime heritage through the Virginia Archaeological Charitable Trust! This newly launched platform helps professional archaeological research projects like ours link up to new donors. We need your help to fully fund our preservation and conservation projects. #givingtuesday https://vactrust.org/projects/preserving-alexandrias-maritime-heritage/

Increased development along Alexandria's waterfront has uncovered the remains of a bustling late 18th/19th century waterfront neighborhood. In addition to four historic ships, archaeologists also unearthed the remains of wharves, warehouses, businesses, and homes (and their associated artifacts). Th...

We wish you a happy & safe Thanksgiving! We're closed on Thursday but will be open Friday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. This turke...
11/25/2020

We wish you a happy & safe Thanksgiving! We're closed on Thursday but will be open Friday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. This turkey bottle was excavated from the Old Dominion Glass Works site (44AX84). Workers would sometimes blow novelty bottles like this one if they had a moment to spare

Cool things happening in the Potomac! This was too good to wait until #waterfrontwednesday to share
11/23/2020

Cool things happening in the Potomac! This was too good to wait until #waterfrontwednesday to share

Last week UA was in the Potomac River assisting the City of Alexandria and Alexandria Archaeology Museum with a survey. This local opportunity provides UA a chance to test equipment and sea trials in preparation for the NAS Patuxent River historic aircraft survey. Stay tuned for more on that survey.

Happy 31st birthday to our archaeological protection code! One of the first of its kind in the country, it has allowed u...
11/18/2020

Happy 31st birthday to our archaeological protection code! One of the first of its kind in the country, it has allowed us to learn more about Alexandria’s history at sites that would have otherwise been lost to development. Over the past three decades we’ve reviewed over 7000 development proposals, identified hundreds of archaeological sites, and recovered over 2 million artifacts. We are so proud to be the stewards of Alexandria’s archaeological heritage and are dedicated to keeping the City’s collections accessible for future research and education.

#WaterfrontWednesday Waterfront Industry: After the Civil War, Alexandria underwent a period of rapid industrialization ...
11/11/2020

#WaterfrontWednesday Waterfront Industry: After the Civil War, Alexandria underwent a period of rapid industrialization that altered the waterfront significantly. The factories, plants, and yards that sprung up throughout the city provided employment opportunities for African American men, many who migrated to DC area from more rural areas in the late 19th century. Chemical fertilizer was a major industry in Alexandria and the dangerous work of processing phosphate rock for this product was almost entirely performed by African American men who were restricted from holding other positions within these companies due to segregation. To learn more about other sites on the African American Waterfront Heritage trail check out the virtual tour! https://alexgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=47a6a8e8942643f0ae499140f55c598f

We’re often asked how the City of Alexandria got an archaeology program. Way back in 1975, before the city hired staff a...
11/05/2020

We’re often asked how the City of Alexandria got an archaeology program. Way back in 1975, before the city hired staff archaeologists and before the Archaeology Museum opened its doors in the Torpedo Factory, City Council established an Archaeological Commission to promote public awareness and participation in the preservation and study of Alexandria’s archaeological sites and collections. To learn more about the AAC’s mission and work, visit https://www.alexandriava.gov/historic/archaeology/default.aspx?id=28168

#WaterfrontWednesday Fishtown: In the 19th century the Potomac was “full of business and fish.” Free and enslaved indivi...
11/04/2020

#WaterfrontWednesday Fishtown: In the 19th century the Potomac was “full of business and fish.” Free and enslaved individuals worked at Alexandria’s fish wharf and market located in what is now Founder’s Park. From March to May as shad and herring arrived in the Potomac, up to 600 enslaved and free black laborers worked to process hundreds of thousands of fish. A seasonal town grew around the fishing industry to meet the needs of these workers. To learn more about other sites on the African American Waterfront Heritage trail check out the virtual tour! https://alexgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=47a6a8e8942643f0ae499140f55c598f

We might not be Alexandria, Egypt, but in 1829 we were a temporary home to a mummy displayed as a traveling exhibit at J...
10/31/2020

We might not be Alexandria, Egypt, but in 1829 we were a temporary home to a mummy displayed as a traveling exhibit at John Wise’s Indian Queen Tavern. Egyptian hieroglyphs were only first deciphered in the 1820s, and were not perfected until much later. Our intern, Melissa Thiringer, spent many hours deciphering a 3,000 year old Egyptian mummy’s sarcophagus inscriptions. She found that the sarcophagus dates to the Third Intermediate Period of Egyptian history. The text is dedicated to a woman named Djed-khonsu-iues-ankh, which supports the theory that the mummy was female. This research reveals a unique subculture in early America, a time and place where the fascination of the ancient world intersected with 19th century tavern life. Thanks to Melissa in De Nile for her research on this project!

Happy Virginia Archaeology Month! Today, City Archaeologist Dr. Eleanor Breen explores the history of the program and in...
10/30/2020
Who We are

Happy Virginia Archaeology Month! Today, City Archaeologist Dr. Eleanor Breen explores the history of the program and introduces us to the protection code that has allowed us to learn so much about our City’s history. https://youtu.be/3qCV0zJ8Z8I

City Archaeologist Dr. Eleanor Breen explores the history of the program and introduces the protection code that has allowed us to learn so much about our Ci...

Earlier this month, the Northern Waterfront Route of the African American Heritage Trail launched! This self-guided tour...
10/28/2020

Earlier this month, the Northern Waterfront Route of the African American Heritage Trail launched! This self-guided tour highlights the people, places and neighborhoods from the time of Alexandria’s founding through the 20th century. Learn more about Alexandria’s African American history while walking the trail and accessing the StoryMap or from the comfort of you own home. Over the next few weeks for #WaterfrontWednesday, we will highlight stops on this route. This project is the product of a volunteer, community initiative supported by the Office of Historic Alexandria.
https://alexgis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=47a6a8e8942643f0ae499140f55c598f

Happy Virginia Archaeology Month! Today archaeologist Dr. Garrett Fesler will chat about the importance of documentary r...
10/23/2020
Using Historic Documents

Happy Virginia Archaeology Month! Today archaeologist Dr. Garrett Fesler will chat about the importance of documentary research in archaeology. He’ll discuss how deeds, insurance documents, and other historic documents help us learn more about our City’s past and interpret its rich archaeological heritage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgMOBOsk9J8

Archaeologist Dr. Garrett Fesler chats about the importance of documentary research in archaeology. He’ll discuss how deeds, insurance documents, and other h...

It's time to vote in the Council of Virginia Archaeologists Photo contest! Scroll down to see our entries in the field w...
10/22/2020
Photo Contest Voting | COVA

It's time to vote in the Council of Virginia Archaeologists Photo contest! Scroll down to see our entries in the field work, lab work, and vintage categories. Hurry- voting closes tomorrow! #shipsarearchaeology #wedontneedgreenfields #weloveurbanarchaeology Friends of Alexandria Archaeology

2020 Photo Contest Category Voting Vote once in each category per day. Voting is open to anyone between October 19 and October 23. Winners face off in the Grand Prize round from Oct 26-30. Archaeological Landscapes/Site Overview Archaeological Field Work in Progress Archaeological Lab Work in Progre...

Now a popular spot for photo shoots, the Wilkes Street tunnel served a very different purpose in the 19th century. The 1...
10/21/2020

Now a popular spot for photo shoots, the Wilkes Street tunnel served a very different purpose in the 19th century. The 170 foot long, sandstone and brick tunnel built by the Orange and Alexandria railroad helped connect Alexandria’s wharves to the Virginia backcountry. This secured Alexandria as an important local center during the second half of the 19th century, allowing goods from further west to be easily shipped from the port. Plagued by stone supply shortages, the Wilkes Street tunnel project initially intended to be completed by 1851 does not appear to have been finished until 1856, sparking consternation among Alexandrians living in the area. #WaterfrontWednesday

Learn more https://www.alexandriava.gov/historic/info/default.aspx?id=41158

10/16/2020
Archaeological Collections

Happy Virginia Archaeology Month! Today archaeologist and collections manager Tatiana Niculescu discusses what happens to archaeological materials once they’ve been excavated. She’ll look at the City’s efforts to preserve, research, and exhibit artifacts both big and small. #IAD2020 https://youtu.be/l7M1P3f2Z-k

Archaeologist and collections manager Tatiana Niculescu discusses what happens to archaeological materials once they’ve been excavated. She’ll look at the Ci...

For enslaved individuals, ships often served as one more tool of oppression, serving to further dehumanize these men, wo...
10/14/2020

For enslaved individuals, ships often served as one more tool of oppression, serving to further dehumanize these men, women, and children, and transport them away from their loved ones. For the Edmonson sisters, the schooner Pearl also served as a potential means of an escape orchestrated by abolitionists and enslaved people in April 1848. Unfortunately, Mary and Emily Edmonson were captured after their escape, along with all 75 others on board. The sisters were purchased by Joseph Bruin and held at the slave jail on the 1700 block of Duke Street awaiting transport to New Orleans. These two teenagers worked in the laundry while they were enslaved by Bruin and may have drawn water from a cistern uncovered by archaeologists in 2007/2008 ahead of development. Free relatives and abolitionists worked to purchase and free Mary and Emily. Today their courageous story is honored with a public art installation in front of 1701 Duke Street. #WaterfrontWednesday

Learn more:https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/historic/info/archaeology/TrailSignEdmonsonSisters.pdf

https://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedFiles/historic/info/archaeology/SiteReportKraus2010BruinSlaveJailAX172.pdf

Alexandria in the 18th and 19th century had a sizable ceramic manufacturing industry, particularly stoneware. Over the y...
10/13/2020
“…my friend David Jarboe…”: The Unfinished Portrait of an Alexandria Potter | The MESDA Journal

Alexandria in the 18th and 19th century had a sizable ceramic manufacturing industry, particularly stoneware. Over the years, we’ve excavated numerous pottery manufactories across the city, helping us learn more about this industry and those who worked in it. Enslaved and free African Americans, like David Jarboe, played a critical role in Alexandria’s stoneware industry. The fortunes of many of the better known, white proprietors were built on Black labor. https://www.mesdajournal.org/2020/my-friend-david-jarboe-the-unfinished-portrait-of-an-alexandria-potter/

“…my friend David Jarboe…”: The Unfinished Portrait of an Alexandria Potter Angelika R. Kuettner Alexandria’s tradition of stoneware manufacture is one of the great American ceramics stories. The broad outlines of stoneware made in Alexandria, Virginia have been put forth by scholars and c...

10/09/2020
Mapping Historic Alexandria

Happy Virginia Archaeology Month! Today, archaeologist Dr. Ben Skolnik chats about the importance of historic spatial information like maps and plats. He’ll share more about how his work using Geographic Information Systems lets us learn more about our City’s buried past. #IAD2020 #ArchaeologistsAtWork https://youtu.be/FAM1zI4kYXg

Archaeologist Dr. Ben Skolnik chats about the importance of historic spatial information like maps and plats. He’ll share more about how his work using Geogr...

We’re so excited that work has started back up on 3D scanning the ships. Over the past few months CRL has been working r...
10/07/2020

We’re so excited that work has started back up on 3D scanning the ships. Over the past few months CRL has been working remotely creating 3D models from the previous scanning trips, but we are happy to have them back on site this week! #WaterfrontWednesday

10/02/2020
Archaeology Story Time

Happy Virginia Archaeology Month! Today we’re celebrating with a story for our young archaeology enthusiasts, “Archaeologists Dig for Clues.” Even adults may be surprised to find out all the work that goes into doing archaeology. https://youtu.be/Q9uf0xE1i2I

Address

105 North Union Street #327
Alexandria, VA
22314

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

Opening Hours

Friday 11:00 - 15:00
Saturday 11:00 - 17:00
Sunday 11:00 - 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!!!