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tv   American Artifacts Archaeology at George Washingtons Alexandria Property  CSPAN  December 23, 2018 6:40pm-7:01pm EST

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with entrepreneurs on women in corporate america. >> we know women's networks tend to look very female heavy. that might be fine when you're in your first position right out of school. with ayou think wins network by the time you get to senior leadership? >> watch christmas day on c-span. >> each week, american artifacts takes you to museums and historic places to learn about american history. addition to his mount vernon estate along the potomac river, george washington owned a townhouse in the heart of nearby alexandria virginia. the current owner talks about his family's connection to the washingtons. then the architecture -- archaeology of two recently discovered wells in the basement.
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to see some of the artifacts that have been uncovered. >> we are in a beautiful town established in 1749. built by a house george washington in 1767 and 1769. then it stayed in the washington family. when she died it went back to the washington state. --n it had control >> the original auction was held in 1749. the second auction was held in 1763 when george washington bought two lots. purchased for 10 pounds. this was purchased for 38 pounds. george washington was a good businessman. if you are a farmer you have to know business inside and out. he said it meant something to
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him. they were two springs in the city of alexandria. the other one was on king george's meadows. george washington knew the importance of surveying, he knew the importance of water, the importance of location. when a business man makes a decision on what he needs and what's going to make the most money for him. he had to build on the lot within two years. his brother had lost that lot because he hadn't built on it. he knew he had to build a house on this lot within two years. the townhouse behind us, that is the townhouse that was built in 1767 and 1769. in 1797 george washington asked a friend if he would help him subdivide the lot. they made nine parcels.
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the lot didn't end up being nine parcels, it ended up being eight parcels. they were to their instead of three. this state in a washington estate until robert washington relinquished control of it. it signed by george washington for three months before his death. lots and its is perpetual. that is all in george washington's handwriting. when mount vernon came, also than archaeologists came. heldirector of archaeology this document and said he had never seen anything like it. bys document is signed
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martha washington, signed by george washington's secretary, his stepson, signed by john anderson, his manager in mount vernon. as role was the lease or of the property. is signed by two gentlemen and john anderson again. is a document signed by the key players in mount vernon that had never been seen by mount vernon or anybody else. it's a fantastic document. this is all handwritten in george washington's handwriting. the document itself was a document put together by an onorney and put together august 8, 1799. the lease or signed it paid on andember 8, him and martha
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john anderson signed it. you see a difference in the pan, this was all done in a dark pen and these on the bottom in a lighter pen. death heths before his also got the exact same seal that's on his will. he only wrote nine letters from the time this was written until he died three months later, four of those letters were written to alexander hamilton, two of those were written to the secretary of war, and one to a personal friend of his. this is a document that has never been seen that is now in this home and will always be with the house. i grew up in alexandria, and what's important as i had nine homes here in the city of alexandria. i married a beautiful woman.
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my weight is related to george washington. we were in a house on duke street and we ran out of room. when i was at church i was talking with one of the members. i told him i was looking to move and they said there is a property across the street. andked her about the house my wife and i came by the house, we took a walk across the street, took a five minute tour of the house and put a contract on the house. he wanted to get back into the washington property that washington named. we had to show my wife's genealogy, she is related to george washington through george washington's great-grandfather. she's from the and washington line.
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we've been living here about five years. we had run out of space in the house. my wife and i made a decision to do an analysis. and we looked into the requirements. the only way we could build was to build down. the engineer broke through the wall right below us. and when we went down into the basement to look around there was a false basement of about 11 inches. and when we look to the left we sigh depression in the corner where he knew addition had been put. away andll of the dirt we found a brick well. my wife and i are both
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historians, my wife is a history major and we wanted to get the city involved right away. we had friends that did the same process. they dug the basement without letting them know what was going on. i think a lot of archaeological finds were missed. once we found the first well we don't fight feet. when we looked over to the what -- to the right we found a second well. the archaeologist had called mount vernon and mount vernon sent the director of archaeology. we started to date on well number one. number one.ell on well number one. the community has come together. papers are posting articles about what is happening here in alexandria.
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especially with the renovation and the excavation below it. it's been a fun process because i've become an archaeology 101 student. we are about three quarters of the way through the excavation right now. foundg the artifacts, we probably 2500 artifacts. the artifacts range from the late 1700s all the way up to the 1920's. find 90% of anything we will be in the city of alexandria and mount vernon. pottery.hards of it's very important that people who are stewards of a property
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understand they have a responsibility. that's what my wife and i are trying to do. >> we are underneath the addition to the house. has -- is as they are digging up the basement, we've actually completed the well that was once standing right here, standing where that well was. we excavated that recently and completed that. the process of excavating the other well. lightlysee those steps to show what we're doing. we're taking half of this well out. you can see the layers of soil that is in here.
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we will sifted out up top. we are looking up the soil placed into the well after it was no longer in use. sometimes we will use shovels. you can tell this has a lot of clay soil in it. this is a layer that probably was purposefully created by filling in with clay so the well wouldn't be a hassle -- a hazard. we're getting down close to the bottom. you can see the edge of the brick that are still in place down here. we have begun to probe in this final layer.
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we are close to being at the bottom of the well. and the excitement is this is going to be the bottom layer where presumably things may have fallen or dropped when it was in use. it may have been used as a trash pit. to us archaeologists, that's what we are looking for. those other clues to learning out the past. are going to get down to that layer. we are ready to penetrate down to the bottom. interestingore things about the top of this particular well was that we encountered two barrels. the sequence of events may have been that once they decided that this was no longer going to be used to get water, they filled
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them with clay, but toward the top they embedded two wooden barrels. this is a drawing of the sidewall of what the barrel looks like in place. this one was two feet wide and two feet deep. these may have been put into the top of the well for maybe a place where water could collect. chapter of the story about this well to try to figure it out. the other story we are trying to figure out is which was first in which was second. it is unlikely both would have been in use at the same time.
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the question is which one was the first well? there are clues that will tell us about that, the artifacts that we find buried into these wells. especially at the bottom. they are beginning to do that analysis and see if we can sort it out. >> we are now in alexandria's archaeology museum. come ina public museum visiting the town of alexandria. uniquehaeology museum is , because we are a typical , but we areexhibits a public laboratory space. people can interact with long tears that with volunteers and staff -- with volunteers and
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staff. ,ith happening here right now processing artifacts actually from the well. the first stage of archaeology that happens after all the artifacts come out of the ground as they come into the lab and the artifacts get processed. and thathe dirt off allows us to begin the process of identification of what these things actually are. wells are really important archaeological features. they are really time capsules of the past. then they start to give used for other things, often as trash receptacles. eventually the wells get cap so they don't create hazards in the back lot.
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all of that information is maintained. archaeologists get incredibly excited when wells are discovered and have the opportunity to excavate that archaeology so he know exactly from this context information where the artifacts actually came from, we are at the very top of the well, the very beginning of the excavation. what we find is a broad range of artifacts at the very top level. and one dating back to the time period when the well was cap. look more closely into the we see some kind of unusual artifacts.
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these are marble, these are clay clay tobaccohis is that has been found in this well. variety, a extensive popular pattern in the 18th and 19th century. artifacts from the 19th century. and the diet of what people in alexandria eight. some are potentially more related to rodents and scavengers in the back lots of houses. of course lots and lots of glass and iron artifacts.
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the partnership we have taken with the homeowner, with the city of alexandria, we have been able to have a partnership. we are just getting started with the post information processing. watching these individual artifacts and going to the collection is not a quick process. i'd say we are just beginning with the process overall. and they will come in to and beria archaeology held in the public trust so future generations can study or exhibit and learn more.
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>> i think what we will get a glimpse of when we analyze the bottom and get down to isavating and analyzing really information about residents in alexandria, in the early to middle 19th century. pieces of ceramic and fashion ability. we are also lucky -- they can even reconstruct block histories and learn about the democrats -- and the graphics of people living in the block.
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>> you can watch this and other american artifacts programs by visiting our >> next, u.s. naval professor james holmes analyzes the battle of jutland between the imperial german navy and the british navy. the navy gunner, professor holmes battles that there are lessons that the 21st-century navy can learn from the great war. this is part of a conference hosted by the national world war i museum and memorial in kansas city, missouri. ladies and gentlemen welcome back to the 1918 crucible of war symposium here at the national world war i museum and memorial. we are so pleased to beoi


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