Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mount Vernon Midden: Part II

This photo is a tavern scene.

A Staffordshire slipware trailed, combed, and dotted drinking pot that was found in the Midden. Dating to the early years of George Washington’s tenure at Mount Vernon, these vessels were likely used for a wide range of things. We usually think of them in terms of their role in alcohol consumption but it is possible that people were also eating gruel or some form of caudle out of these pots. They were certainly not set out at any formal Washington affairs but may have had use among the Washington staff or in private meals. By the time of the Revolution, Staffordshire slipwares were largely obsolete and the Washington household had moved on to more fashionable wares.

Colonial buttons of the 18th century were used as practical clothing fasteners and as stylish adornment for both sexes (particularly men) and were often imported from England. This photo is of a faceted blue glass inset sleeve button, known today as a cufflink.

A French gunflint. What is a French gunflint doing in a British colony, you ask? Up to the time of the War of 1812, French gunflints were considered superior to their English counterparts and were often used by both the British and the Americans. French gunflints are distinguished by their honey or blond color and the round shape of their back edge.

Shoe buckles were worn by virtually everyone, from European royalty to those in the enslaved population. Today’s photograph is of a pewter shoe buckle with “TR” cast on the chape, the style of which suggests it is an early 18th-century buckle. More research is necessary, however, to determine if these letters refer to the maker or perhaps the client.

This globular teapot featuring a paneled spout is made of Nottingham stoneware. Though Chinese porcelain is most commonly associated with colonial teawares, evidence from the South Grove Midden suggests that the genteel ritual of tea taking could be expressed with other ware types as well. Found in the first phase of the midden (ca. 1735-1757), however, this brown teapot may have been cast aside when George Washington purchased more fashionable versions.

This photograph showcases objects that together make up a table setting. From back to front we have the base and a finish from two wine bottles, two wine glasses, a glass wine decanter, a two-tined fork, a Chinese export porcelain plate with a flower basket design and a knife.

Copy and photos from the Alexandria Archaeology Museum Facebook.




  2. So excited to see these images shared on your blog! The original images and more content can be found on a website devoted to the archaeology of George Washington's trash:

    Thanks, Eleanor