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TideWriters Tales
Excavation of George Washington's Boyhood Home

     After a successful initial season, Ferry Farm archaeologists have started the second season of excavation of the Washington plantation. George Washington lived here from ages 6 to 20, while his mother Mary Washington remained on the property for over 30 years.

     Researchers anticipate locating, excavating, and documenting several structures including the original 1720s dwelling, its 1740s replacement, a kitchen, and a number of other outbuildings. The exploration of one of these structures is currently underway. So far, the dig has revealed an earthfast wooden structure with a stone chimney and a large cellar. Artifacts (such as window glass, early eighteenth-century ceramics, and wig curlers) from the plowed soils around the structure indicate that it is the plantation's original dwelling. 

     This research will focus on the social relationships between plantation masters, indentured servants, and slaves, and explore the role of family relationships in the formation of the character of the "Father of Our Country."

     The dig is a joint venture between George Washington's Fredericksburg Foundation and the University of South Florida. Philip Levy, Ph.D., a distinguished scholar of colonial American history, will lead the South Florida team. David Muraca, chief archaeologist for George Washington's Fredericksburg Foundation, has supervised the excavation of many important colonial Chesapeake sites. The excavation is interpreted to visitors to Ferry Farm (admission fee) Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., during May, June, and the first half of July, and Wednesday through Sunday from July 16 through August. The project will take up to 15 summers to complete. 

     Ferry Farm is located at 268 Kings Highway, Fredericksburg, VA 22405. The admission price is $3.00 for adults, $1.50 for children between ages 6 to 17, children under 6 free. For more information, please contact Dave Muraca, (540) 370-0732, Ext. 23 or email muraca2@gwffoundation.org. Kenmore Plantation was the home of colonial patriot Fielding Lewis and his wife, Betty Washington Lewis, sister of George Washington. Kenmore, built in 1775, is located at 1201 Washington Avenue in Fredericksburg, Virginia; its house and gardens are open to the public while undergoing restoration.

     George Washington's Ferry Farm is located off Route 3 along the Rappahannock River in southern Stafford County, Virginia. Ferry Farm is where George Washington grew to manhood. Programs are for all ages based on historical, archaeological, agricultural, and ecological assets at Ferry Farm.

USF Field School at Work.
Photo Courtesy of Historic Kenmore & Ferry Farm


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