Archaeological Survey at Mount Vernon
Eleanor Breen, Director of Archaeology at Mount Vernon, and Joe Downer, want to invite you to check out…
In 2014, Mount Vernon's archaeologists began a multi-year project to learn more about the Slave Cemetery at Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon is conducting an ongoing archaeological survey of the Slave Cemetery on the estate. From an archaeological standpoint, the best way to commemorate the lives of those free and enslaved individuals who lived and died at Mount Vernon is to thoroughly document the locations of individual burials on the landscape. Therefore, the primary goal of this project is to create a map that shows exactly where individuals are interred on the ridge just southwest of Washington’s tomb. How many individuals call this cemetery their final resting place? What are the boundaries of the site? How are burials arranged within those boundaries? To ensure utmost respect is paid to the people interred in the African American cemetery, the remains will not be excavated.
The first season of the Slave Cemetery project began in May 2014. Mount Vernon archaeologists, students, interns, and volunteers excavated 66 5x5 ft. test units, covering an area of 1,650 square feet, and recorded a total of 20 burial features.
Participate in the survey of the Slave Cemetery by visiting or volunteering.