2023 Ferry Farm Dig Preview

Spring is here, which means another season of exciting archaeological work at Ferry Farm is about to begin! Ferry Farm, the boyhood home of George Washington, has been conducting archaeological investigations for over 30 years with the aim of recreating and analyzing the 18th-century farm landscape that shaped George Washington during his formative years as a young man. Every season brings new discoveries, and this year will be no different.

This season we will be investigating two separate areas within the historic site. The first (FF-38) is a feature discovered in 2018 when we monitored the excavation of a utilities trench for the reproduction Washington house. This large feature, approximately 5’ x 7’ and over 2.5’ deep, is filled with dark brown organic soil and contains 18th-century artifacts, including a wig curler, a signature find for our site. Our excavations will expose the entire plan view of the feature and how it relates to other possible features in the surrounding area.

Figure 1. The location of our two summer projects in the historic area.

The second area of investigation (FF-40) is the site of a colonial-era kitchen that burned early in the Washington family tenure of the farm. Though the building’s remains were the subject of previous archaeological studies in the 1990s, we are going to open the site up again to have a second look. Since we have been unable, so far, to locate the kitchen that would have replaced this one after it was destroyed in a very hot fire, we want to continue examining the one we do know about!

The dig begins the week of May 8th and ends July 21st. The crew will be on-site Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm. We are more than happy to answer questions about our work and show our visitors the artifacts that we find. Assistance is always welcome at our sifting screens, so come by and get your hands just a little bit dirty as we search for answers in the ground!

Judy Jobrack

Archaeology Field Director