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While there were very few artifacts discovered in the field known as the Fruit Garden and Nursery, some intriguing artifacts helped us understand the use of this field through time.
Excavations revealed a ditch which ran north / south through the center of the field. The artifacts found within this feature suggest it might be “the old ditch” that Washington wanted leveled in 1792. It contained a wine bottle, broken into 64 pieces, with a late 18th-century profile.
In addition, a fragment of an unusual hand-molded brick/tile with two concave edges was found in the same stratum as the wine bottle. Several virtually identical examples have been recovered at Mount Vernon over the years the result of various construction and restoration projects. Unfortunately, none derive from undisturbed or precisely recorded contexts, reducing their usefulness as comparative data. As no existing brick work on the plantation exhibits such materials, possibly all the molded brick were associated with the earlier generation of outbuildings, torn down about 1775.
The two pit features possibly associated with early 19th century slave quarters were filled with domestic artifacts. The terminus post quem for these features was 1840, based on a sherd of stoneware made in Alexandria, VA. Porcelain, creamware, pearlware plates, coarse earthenware and wine bottles were discarded in these small features along with brick, mortar, nails, and window glass.