‘An Archaeological Dream’ –1700s Revolutionary War-Era Ship Found

It appears that historic Alexandria, Virginia, is being found bit by bit as construction grows in the area. In an amazing recent discovery, a 1700s era ship was found in a construction area in Alexandria, raising questions of exactly what the ship was used for, and what it might have contained.

According to the Washington Post, the 1700s era ship, which is amazingly well preserved, was found during the construction of a hotel on the waterfront of the Potomac. Dan Baicy, Thunderbird Archaeology’s field director, who monitors the construction site where the ship was found for historical artifacts, says the discovery is so rare due to it’s excellent preservation, especially situated in a such a busy, built-up area. The reason the ship escaped decay, despite being buried for centuries? Apparently, the Revolutionary War-era ship was buried so tightly that it was completely devoid of oxygen.

When the ship sank in the late 1700s, the Potomac River flowed in that area. However, reports Fox News, part of the river was backfilled in the late 1800s to allow growth along the waterfront. Long-time Alexandria archaeologist Francine Bromberg calls the ship a “remarkable” find.

“A remarkable archaeological dream basically. We know that this ship was put in place sometime between 1775 and 1798.”

The 1700s era ship is not the only huge archaeological discovery in Old Town Alexandria in the past year. A warehouse foundation dating back to 1755 was found in the same general area as the ship. Excitingly, the foundation is thought to be the remains of Alexandria’s very first industrial building.

A related report by The Inquisitr expands on Bromberg’s opinion as an expert in Old Town Alexandria history.

“It really is one of the earliest structures that has been archaeologically discovered on the waterfront, so is highly significant. [It] results from this implementation of the Archaeological Protection Code, which requires us to review it and then to determine the level of work, which in this case was complete documentary study. [We] then do archaeological testing on the site to determine if resources are present. This is six years after the founding of the town, so here we are really going back to the very essence of what were those earliest days in Alexandria.”

Though the foundation of the warehouse was found in historical city records, the ship has yet to be identified, leading to many questions regarding the nature of business in which the ship was involved. Some theories speculate this rare archaeological find was once a cargo ship, or used by the military.

The Washington Post further reports that Hotel Indigo, which is the object of the construction where the ship was found, will sport 120 guest rooms as well as a restaurant.

Three privies have also been found at the construction site, along with a variety of items which were tossed into the deep hole when the privies were in operation. Shoes and glass bottles are just a couple of the items found so far. Archaeologists, as well at Old Town residents, are excited to imagine what other interesting items may be found beneath the surface of their lovely city.

Stay tuned as experts dig into the building site in the hopes of unearthing another amazing historical discovery like that of the 1700s era ship.

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