Artifacts recovered from the archaeological excavations are processed, analyzed, and housed in the archaeology laboratory. While archaeological investigations at Mount Vernon have occurred since the 1930s, the majority of the collections are from the permanent archaeology program established in 1987 and a survey of the property conducted by the Virginia Research Center for Archaeology in 1984 / 85.
Today, the archaeological collection contains over a million artifacts, such as
domestic items: ceramics, glass, furniture hardware, and utensils
personal effects: tobacco pipes, wig curlers, and jewelry
clothing remains: buttons, and buckles
architectural fragments: brick, mortar, plaster, and stone
faunal or animal bones
floral or plant remains such as seeds and pits
These artifacts are the key to life at Mount Vernon during the 18th century. By studying faunal and floral remains archaeologists learn more about the diet of Mount Vernon’s residents; domestic, clothing and personal objects inform about daily life; while architectural artifacts provide clues to the layout and appearance of the plantation.