In this video, archaeologist Mara Kaktins shares bits of Mary Washington's dishes excavated at Ferry Farm and explains their significance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KCtCe-d-MQ Read more about Mary's dishes in this blog post.
The story of Mary Ball Washington is one of overcoming a lifetime of adversity. Often overshadowed by her larger than life son George, Mary’s place in history fluctuated from saint to shrew with many historians ignoring the obstacles she faced and overcame. The archaeological record sheds light on some of the strategies Mary used to … Continue reading Appearance is Everything: Mary Washington and Her Specialized Ceramics of Gentility – Some Seriously Fancy Dishes!
Today, we continue our look at the different ceramics displayed or soon to be displayed in the Washington house at George Washington’s Ferry Farm. We’re examining the artifacts recovered at Ferry Farm, the complete 18th century objects those artifacts represent, and the reproduction pieces inspired by these artifact sherds as well as by the complete … Continue reading Artifact, Object, Repro: Part 2 – White Salt-Glaze and Westerwald Stonewares
When you enter a museum you’re surrounded by cool stuff. Be it paintings, fossils, or ancient artifacts, they’re all special items that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere. But what if I told you that the cool objects you see on display in a museum are a mere fraction of what most museums actually … Continue reading Ten Cool But Rarely-Exhibited Artifacts Found at Ferry Farm
The goal of studying archaeological artifacts and, indeed, the goal of studying history more broadly is to understand the people who lived in the past both in the small moments and in the times of monumental change. Something as ordinary as the beverages people drank and the objects from which they drank reveal what life … Continue reading Drinking Vessels and Their Drinks
While living at Ferry Farm, Mary Washington, mother of George, owned a creamware punch bowl with beautiful hand-painted enamel depicting a floral motif and cherry accents. Archaeologists excavated pieces of this bowl from the cellar of the Washington home and subsequently discovered glue residue on the sherds. We've written about the importance of the bowl's discovery here … Continue reading Photos: Glue Through a Microscope
Want to see "in real life" the 18th century ceramic fruit dish we wrote about last August? You can see it and the matching sherds excavated by archaeologists on your next visit to George Washington's Ferry Farm. The dish sits inside the Ferry Farm visitor center in a museum display case now dedicated to Lives & Legacies. In this … Continue reading Lives & Legacies: The Exhibit
As an archaeologist, I am often asked “What is the coolest thing you’ve ever found?” The answer is complicated. Although I’ve unearthed 10,000 year old Paleoindian hearths, elaborate porcelains, coins, long lost jewelry, and ancient stone tools, I say that the coolest thing I’ve ever found is …. glue. This proclamation always elicits questioning looks … Continue reading Glue: The Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Found
Archaeologists are always trying to link artifacts with the actual people who lived at the sites we study. As such, we get very excited when we find artifacts with people’s names on them. It makes our job easy, right? So, imagine our elation when a small creamware cup bearing the words “A Present For Mary” … Continue reading In Search of Mary’s Mug
Archaeologists sometimes recreate technology from the past to understand how people lived. This is called experimental archaeology. When archaeologists at George Washington's Ferry Farm found glue residue on sherds of Mary Washington's china, they developed ways to recreate this glue. This video explains the glue making process and what recreating the glues revealed about Mary. … Continue reading The Science of History: Experimental Archaeology & Colonial Cheese Glue