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Mansion Drain


Prior to the installation of a modern drainage system around the foundation of the Mansion, archaeologists excavated a trench four feet wide to record the layers of soil. Thousands of small artifacts (straight pins, buttons, broken ceramic and glass shards, fish bones, tobacco pipes) were swept out into the grass especially near the doorways. We also learned about the construction history of the house and grounds from these layers of soil. Excess moisture in the Mansions basement was a concern for George Washington. His solution was an elaborate system to channel water away from the house through a series of brick drains installed about 1775. Evidence was also found for crudely constructed walkways on the west of the house and fences connecting the Mansion to privies on the east and outbuildings on the west.