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Archaeological excavations at the site of the House for Families began in 1984 / 1985 and were completed in 1990 / 1991. Excavation of a brick-lined root cellar, located below the slave quarter, contained more than 60,000 artifacts, including 25,000 animal bones or faunal remains. This rich assemblage of domestic artifacts and food remains associated with the house servants and craftspeople that lived there provides a clue about the slaves’ daily life and diet.
This study remains an integral component of Mount Vernon’s interest in understanding all the groups – planter household, indentured servants, hired laborers, and the various strata within the slave community – comprising the Mount Vernon plantation population.