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Work Continues On Historic Ship Discoveries In Alexandria

Posted on Nov 02,2018
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By Emily Leayman

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - Alexandria archaeologists are working on the excavation of the largest of three ships found in 2018 at the Robinson Landing site. EYA, LLC, the developer for the site, has a team of contract archaeologists and experts working with city support.

"We're learning so much from this incredibly unique site, where more than 100,000 artifacts have been found," said city archaeologist Eleanor Breen in a statement. "Right now, we are working on the largest, most intact discovery so far -- a wooden sailing vessel made with trunnels [wooden pegs] and iron fasteners that held the ship's timbers together."

At this time, the team is documenting the ship's remains using traditional and 3-D documentation techniques. Conservators from the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory and City staff are helping to dismantle the ship's timbers. They will be turned over to the city to be stored in water for purposes of stabilization and decay prevention.

The ships are located partially on site of a future parking garage, as well as near and under Wolfe Street. The ship remains under the parking garage site had been exposed ahead of excavation. The other portion under Wolfe Street will be preserved in the ground.

Workers are beginning to move ship remains onto trailers parked on Wolfe Street. As trailers are moving in and out of the site, and drivers are cautioned to avoid the area. The excavation site itself is closed to the public.

Two ships had been discovered in March and a third was uncovered in April. Another historic ship had been found nearby at the Hotel Indigo construction site in late 2015. Experts believe the three ships are from the 1700s or 1800s and were used to help fill the river's shoreline. Archaeologists will develop a research plan for the ships when more details about them become known.

The new construction, Robinson Landing will be a combination of townhouses and condominiums on the waterfront.

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