The Mt. Vernon sort, not the Area 51 kind. Nonetheless, these visitors came bearing opportunities.  Last Wednesday, Esther White, Eleanor Breen and Luke Pecoraro from Mt. Vernon Archaeology came for a quick tour of site.  We showed them some of our excavations…  

…then sat down to talk about the eighteenth century.

Mt. Vernon recently purchased microfilms of records for merchants that operated out of Alexandria and Colchester.  These records show what was coming into the ports and who was buying what.  Combined with the archaeological data that Mt. Vernon and C.A.R.T. are amassing, this historical information really takes life.  However, to be really powerful, and to be more accessible to researchers, all these documents need to be transcribed and entered into digital format.

This is  big picture archaeology stuff here!  As Dr. White put it, these documents and the archaeology done on Mason Neck allow us to better understand, “the world of Washington.”  They enable us to look at the consumer networks and how these manifests in the material  record of places like Mt. Vernon and Gunston Hall and Colchester not to mention all the hamlets and plantations in between.

But help is needed.  Transcription is a difficult process that takes time.  So, if any of you are interested in lending a hand, it would be very appreciated.  Just drop us a line at

About cartarchaeology

We are the County Archaeological Research Team, part of the Archaeology and Collections Branch, Resource Management Division, Fairfax County Park Authority. We are tasked with understanding and managing the cultural resources on Park land throughout Fairfax County.
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