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Revolutionary War Era Ship Found at Hotel Construction Site

In this article from Smithsonian Magazine, archaeologists from Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc., a Davey company, unearthed an 18th century ship in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, during excavation work for a new waterfront hotel.

Posted: Jan. 6, 2016

By Danny Lewis

Archaeologists surveying the site of a new hotel in Alexandria, Virginia have uncovered the remains of a Revolutionary War-era ship buried in the mud of the Potomac River. After centuries of its muddy entombment, what’s left of the ship could give researchers new hints as to how 18th century colonists in North America built their boats, Patricia Sullivan reports for the Washington Post.

This isn’t the first time crews working at this particular construction site have dug up historical artifacts: just a few months ago, archaeologists along with construction workers uncovered the remains of an 18th century warehouse they believe was Alexandria’s first public building. But unlike that find, which was marked on historical maps of the city’s waterfront, there was no record of this particular ship.

“It’s very rare. This almost never happens,” archaeologist Dan Baicy tells Sullivan. He works for Thunderbird Archaeology, the firm in charge of excavating the construction site. “In 15 years that I’ve done this work, I’ve never run into this kind of preservation in an urban environment where there’s so much disturbance.”

Researchers have long known that construction along Alexandria’s waterfront could uncover the remains of sunken ships, as late-18th century workers once used them as the framework for the landfill process used to extend the waterfront, Mary Ann Barton writes for Old Town Alexandria Patch. But finding two well-preserved historical finds at the same construction site is a different story.

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