Baffling Archaeological Find At George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Jan Bartek – AncientPages.com – The recent archaeological excavations at George Washington’s Mount Vernon have yielded an extraordinary discovery. Archaeologists have unearthed 35 glass bottles from the 18th century buried in five storage pits within the Mansion’s cellar.

Remarkably, 29 of these bottles remain intact, containing perfectly preserved cherries and berries, likely gooseberries or currants. The contents of each bottle have been carefully extracted and are currently under refrigeration at Mount Vernon, awaiting scientific analysis.

18th Century Glass Bottles With Perfectly Preserved Cherries And Berries Found At George Washington's Mount Vernon

Credit: Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association (MVLA)

This remarkable find follows a previous discovery in the cellar, where two intact European-manufactured 18th-century glass bottles containing liquid, cherries, and pits were uncovered. These archaeological treasures are part of the landmark $40 million Mansion Revitalization Project at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, funded through private sources.

The bottles slowly dry in the Mount Vernon archaeology lab and will be sent off-site for conservation efforts. These discoveries offer a unique glimpse into the culinary practices and preservation techniques of the 18th century, providing valuable insights into that era’s daily life and dietary habits.

“Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine this spectacular archaeological discovery,” said Mount Vernon President & CEO Doug Bradburn. “We were ecstatic last month to uncover two fully intact 18th-century bottles containing biological matter. Now we know those bottles were just the beginning of this blockbuster discovery. To our knowledge, this is an unprecedented find and nothing of this scale and significance has ever been excavated in North America.

We now possess a bounty of artifacts and matter to analyze that may provide a powerful glimpse into the origins of our nation, and we are crossing our fingers that the cherry pits discovered will be viable for future germination. It’s so appropriate that these bottles have been unearthed shortly before the 250th anniversary of the United States,” Bradburn said in a press release.

“These artifacts likely haven’t seen the light of day since before the American Revolution, perhaps forgotten when George Washington departed Mount Vernon to take command of the Continental Army. This means the bottles are extremely fragile and require the utmost care.

18th Century Glass Bottles With Perfectly Preserved Cherries And Berries Found At George Washington's Mount Vernon

Recovered cherries and pits. Credit: Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association (MVLA)

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association was America’s first historic preservation organization, so it’s only fitting that such a remarkable discovery was made here at Mount Vernon. We are fortunate to have top archaeologists and historic preservation experts on staff who know how to effectively manage, analyze, and care for this extraordinary discovery.

See also: More Archaeology News

This historic discovery comes at the beginning of our transformational $40 million Mansion Revitalization Project to strengthen and restore the home of the nation’s first president so that it will be stronger than ever when we celebrate America’s 250th birthday in 2026. This historic preservation project is Mount Vernon’s birthday gift to America,” Bradburn added.

Written by Jan Bartek – AncientPages.com Staff Writer

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