What is a jaw harp, and what does it tell us? This little instrument likely looks familiar, but you may not know that much about it. That certainly proved the case for me when I decided to research the four we have in our collection. To start, a jaw harp is an extremely simple instrument … Continue reading Music from the Past: Jaw Harps and their Players
The concept of buying items to remember certain events or travels is commonplace today. Who goes abroad without bringing back a trinket naming the location? Is it possible to go antiquing without seeing an item that commemorates the wedding of Charles and Diana? Even the smallest item has the ability to tell a story through … Continue reading Catherine of Braganza: How the copy of a 17th-century plate tells the story of design, consumer consumption, and the Washington Family
As archaeologists, we focus on studying the past by examining the items previous humans have left behind. Anything that has been made or changed by someone in the past is therefore considered to be an artifact. When you think of stone artifacts, the first thing that usually comes to mind are arrowheads. Arrowheads and spearheads … Continue reading When is a rock also an artifact?
Such a tiny thing, a letter. What does it mean now? For many of us, a letter via 'snail mail' is a nuisance. Needless paper that litters our mailbox. Ads. Spam. Bills. Scams (most of which are electronic now and also a pain). Mail has been ruined for most of us with the sheer barrage … Continue reading Letters from the Battlefield
As a Historic Preservation major at the University of Mary Washington, I spend a lot of time studying objects from the past. Through my courses, I have learned that common, everyday objects are often able to reflect the values of the people that created and used them. I kept this in mind during my internship … Continue reading Put A Lid On it: Mason Jars and Home Canning in America
We are excited to be celebrating George Washington's 290th birthday (although it's the day before his actual birth date) on President's Day! On February 22, 1732, George was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Some interesting facts are associated with his birth-date and the subsequent birthday celebrations he would have as an adult. For instance, did … Continue reading Happy Birthday, George!
It can be daunting to look at a blank space and realize you are in charge of filling it. And not just filling it, you need to create something that will leave a lasting impression on the public. The process of creating an exhibit is much more complicated than it seems. From the initial idea … Continue reading Behind the Glass of the Archaeology Lab: Creating an Exhibit
On a typical day at George Washington’s Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm, visitors experiencing the house tour are ushered into the main hall upon which a dining table is set out before them with 18th-century reproductions of plates, glassware, wine bottles, and serving dishes. This setting creates an interactive experience for our visitors, transporting them … Continue reading Dig These Dishes! We Recreate an 18th Century Table Setting Using Only Artifacts.
A lot of people don’t realize how many 20th century artifacts we excavate at George Washington’s Ferry Farm. Up until the 1990s, families lived and farmed on the property, leaving tens of thousands of artifacts behind. Some of our favorite modern artifacts are the toys we recover, whether marbles, plastic army and cowboy figurines, doll … Continue reading Playing Around: 20th Century Die-Cast Toys Excavated at Ferry Farm
Like so many of you, in the middle of March this year, nearly all employees of George Washington’s Ferry Farm & Historic Kenmore began working from home and did not return to our offices for two and a half months. We expected a lengthy time away and, as such, prepared as best we could for … Continue reading How to Do Archaeology During a Pandemic