June 28, 2012
Mount Vernon’s archaeologists began their summer excavations in the laundry yard a few weeks ago. The work is designed to learn about the fence which surrounded the yard during George Washington’s life. In 1988 and 1989 the archaeologists excavated in this area and discovered evidence for at least three fences — one built in the 1770s, one in the 1800s and the modern one visible today. The Vaughan Plan of Mount Vernon, a map from 1787, shows a fence around the laundry yard — we hope to learn more about the spacing and size of this fence.
Our first two excavation units are on the south side of the laundry yard in two spots that were not excavated during the 1980s. Our summer interns Caroline Kellough (left) and Matt Wagner (right) are excavating the modern layers of soil and will work their way back to older soils deposited during George Washington’s life.
Looking up the south lane, archaeologist over the next several months will work between the coach house, wash house, smoke house and store house in the next several months tracing the fence between each of these buildings. In the autumn, carpenters will restore the fence replacing it with one that is more authentic and looks like the one Washington had around the yard in 1799. The archaeologists work in the laundry yard Tuesdays — Thursdays this summer, stop by the laundry yard to say hello if you visit Mount Vernon.