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Unearthing Washington’s Backyard Garbage

A bonanza of garbage at the South Grove midden, one of the biggest archaeological finds in the history of the estate.
In George Washington's day, people didn't have the same aversion to trash pits that they do today. That's because throughout colonial and early America, people threw their garbage away not so far from their houses. After all, there were no garbage collectors to haul it off. Mount Vernon was no exception, and in the early 1990s our team of archaeologists found a bonanza of garbage at the South Grove midden, a trash pit that they unearthed practically in the shadow of the Mansion. Pieces of flatware, animal bones, oyster shells and an abundance of other refuse was uncovered. Hear Mount Vernon's VP of Preservation, Dennis Pogue, discuss the importance of this finding, which more than 20 years later is still one of the biggest archaeological finds in the history of the estate.
To learn more about the objects from the midden visit http://mountvernonmidden.org and follow us on Facebook: Mount Vernon's Mystery Midden.