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Please join us for lunch and compelling discussion with a member of our staff, as they present their findings and their research at The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington.

Date and Time


The David M. Rubenstein Leadership Hall, Fred W. Smith National Library 3600 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, Virginia 22121

Archaeology through the Ages
Writing the History of George Washington One Artifact at a Time

In observance of George Washington’s Birthday, the Library invites you to join us for lunch and lively discussion with Director for Archaeology, Luke Pecoraro, as we explore what lies buried beneath our feet at Mount Vernon. The archaeology program officially began in 1987, but curious researchers put shovel to soil as early as the 1890s to better understand what life was like for Mount Vernon plantation’s historic residents. Luke will describe the exciting discoveries that archaeologists have made over the ages and how those discoveries tell us more about George Washington and life on the plantation. He will also explain how historical archaeologists decipher the dirt through scientific methods and carefully create a more complete history of the estate over time. With more than 100 archaeological sites on the estate’s 425 acres documenting 4,000 years of human habitation – there is always more to unearth about this exceptional place.

This is an exclusive members-only event.

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Luke Pecoraro

Luke is a historical archaeologist currently employed as the Director of Archaeology at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. He has worked in cultural resource management archaeology in the mid-Atlantic, the Chesapeake and New England on a variety of prehistoric and historic sites, and for several years as a staff archaeologist on the Jamestown Rediscovery project. Research interests include intercolonial migration and trade in the 17th century Chesapeake, relationships between English plantations in Ireland and Virginia, and the settlement of the English Caribbean. Luke is also a research archaeologist for the First Colony Foundation, searching for the 16th century “Lost Colony” on Roanoke Island, and a team member of the Survey and Landscape Archaeology on Montserrat (SLAM) project in the British West Indies. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in history (Virginia Commonwealth University) a Master’s in archaeology (Boston University) a PhD from Boston University with his dissertation focused on the cultural landscape of Daniel Gookin Jr. (1612–1687). 

Luke is an active member of several professional organizations including the Society for Historical Archaeology regularly presents papers at the annual meeting. Recent publications include “If you should want more, or any of your neighbors want any”: Washington’s Whiskey Distillery and the Plantation and Town. In Urbanism in the Early Chesapeake, edited by Julia A. King and Hank D. Lutton. Gainesville: University Press of Florida [2015], and a book chapter as a co-author with John Cherry and Krysta Ryzewski, “A Kind of Sacred Place”: The Rock and Roll Ruins of AIR Studios, Montserrat.” In Archaeologies of Mobility and Movement, edited by M.C. Beaudry and T.G. Parno, 181–198. New York: Springer [2013]. 


Attendees should park in Mount Vernon visitor parking lots and enter the library campus via the pedestrian gate near the 4-way stop.