Watch Archaeology Videos
Watch Lectures Online
The videos below are of special interest to archaeology. You can also Watch Historic Alexandria Lectures Online on a wide range of topics.
A City Built on Ships: Reconstructing 18th-Century Ships Excavated from the Alexandria Waterfront (October 26, 2022)
A lecture by Dr. Eleanor Breen and Dr. Chris Dostal
Originally presented Wednesday, October 26
Between 2015-2018, construction crews excavating along the Alexandria waterfront revealed the broken remains of four 18th-century wooden ships in what was once the shoreline of the Potomac River. To study them, each ship was disarticulated and the individual timbers were laser scanned, allowing researchers to virtually reassemble the ships and develop theoretical reconstructions of how they would have looked when they were in use. These highly accurate digital timber models were 3D printed and assembled by a master ship model maker, further informing these reconstructions. The four ships are now on two different preservation journeys. The Hotel Indigo ship was sent to the Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University for conservation by freeze drying, and the three Robinson Landing ships were submerged in a pond at Ben Brenman Park this spring. Hear the latest findings and discover what was learned through digitally reconstructing the four ships.
Christopher Dostal is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Anthropology’s Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University, where he is also the Director of the Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation, the Conservation Research Laboratory, and the Director of the Analytical Archaeology Laboratory in charge of scanning the four 18th century ships excavated in Alexandria. He holds his degrees from Texas A&M University (Ph.D.), and the University of Colorado at Boulder. His research and work includes historical maritime archaeology of North America and Western Europe, the conservation and long-term preservation of waterlogged archaeological artifacts, preservation and documentation techniques for underwater archaeological sites, X-ray fluorescence elemental analysis of archaeological artifacts, and digital imaging and 3D modeling of archaeological artifacts.
The Logbook of the Schooner Enterprise (June 30, 2021)
Originally presented June 30, 2021
Lecture by City of Alexandria archaeologist Dr. Benjamin Skolnik, sponsored by Friends of Alexandria Archaeology.
Four 18th and early 19th century ships discovered in the past few years along the Alexandria waterfront are evidence of the City’s maritime history. Dr. Benjamin Skolnik’s research of the 1803-1804 logbook of the Schooner Enterprise, based in Alexandria, offers a glimpse into the world that these ships were once a part of. Follow the Enterprise on four voyages as it encounters bad weather, a leaky hull, yellow fever, and French privateers.
A Short History of Shuter's Hill (June 23, 2021)
Originally presented June 23, 2021
Shuter's Hill overlooks Old Town Alexandria. It has hosted farms and Civil War encampments, and in the 20th century became the site of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial. Alexandria's archaeologists have been carrying out ongoing excavations at a plantation site on Shuter's Hill.
Director of the Library and Museum Collections at the memorial, Mark Tabbert chronicles the history of the hill, and delves into the construction of the monument which spanned decades.
This lecture was presented by the Alexandria Historical Society, in partnership with the Office of Historic Alexandria.
Nat Turner and the 46 Petitioners (June 22, 2021)
Originally presented June 22, 2021
Lecture by City of Alexandria archaeologist Dr. Garrett Fesler, sponsored by Friends of Alexandria Archaeology.
After the 1831 Nat Turner uprising, 46 free Black Alexandrians published a petition asserting loyalty to their town. Dr. Garrett Fesler shares his ongoing research into the signers in this lecture sponsored by the Friends of Alexandria Archaeology and the Office of Historic Alexandria.
Equity in Preservation Panel Discussion (May 27, 2021)
Originally presented May 27, 2021
The panel discussion features three professionals with deep expertise in this timely and important topic. John Sprinkle, Bureau Historian for the National Park Service, will open the session with a discussion on historic preservation and neighborhood conservation, specifically focusing on displacement, urban violence, and architectural survey in Alexandria. Purvi Irwin, Practice Manager for Architecture at CADD Microsystems, will then discuss new approaches to include diversity and inclusion in the preservation field while preserving our past for the future. Both Mr. Sprinkle and Ms. Irwin serve on the Alexandria Board of Architectural Review. Finally, Jaqueline Tucker, Race and Society Equity Office in the City Manager’s Office, will examine ways to operationalize diversity and equity in Alexandria.
Who We Are: Alexandria Archaeology's Role in the City (October 30, 2020)
Originally presented on October 30, 2020
An Archaeology Month lecture by City of Alexandria archaeologist Eleanor Breen
City Archaeologist Dr. Eleanor Breen explores the history of the program and introduces the protection code that has allowed us to learn so much about our City’s history.
Using Historic Documents (October 23, 2020)
Originally presented on October 23, 2020
An Archaeology Month lecture by City of Alexandria archaeologist Garrett Fesler
What can be learned from old taxes, deeds, and insurance documents? Archaeologist Dr. Garrett Fesler will chat about the importance of documentary research and how it helps us learn more about our City’s past and interpret its rich archaeological heritage.
Managing Archaeological Collections (October 16, 2020)
Originally presented on October 16, 2020
An Archaeology Month lecture by City of Alexandria archaeologist Tatiana Niculescu
Archaeologist and collections manager Tatiana Niculescu discusses what happens to archaeological materials once they’ve been excavated. She’ll look at the City’s efforts to preserve, research, and exhibit artifacts both big and small.
Mapping Historic Alexandria (October 9, 2020)
Originally presented on October 9, 2020
An Archaeology Month lecture by City of Alexandria archaeologist Dr. Benjamin Skolnik
Archaeologist Dr. Ben Skolnik chats about the importance of historic spatial information like maps and plats. He’ll share more about how his work using Geographic Information Systems lets us learn more about our City’s buried past.
Cartography of a Port City (September 24, 2020)
Originally presented on September 24, 2020
A lecture by City of Alexandria archaeologist Dr. Benjamin Skolnik
This lecture was presented in partnership with the Alexandria Historical Society.
Dr. Skolnik presents a new take on the history of the city as told through fifteen seldom-seen maps. From Native American representations of social space to 21st-century Geographic Information Systems (GIS), this talk examines the map as a cultural artifact that can tell archaeologists much more than just the locations of buried treasure. Dr. Benjamin Skolnik is an archaeologist for the City of Alexandria specializing in landscape archaeology, digital mapping, and GIS.
2016-2019 Videos: Archaeology on the Waterfront
Drone Footage of Alexandria's Historic Ships (March 18, 2019)
Drone footage of storage tanks containing the timbers from three 18th/early 19th century ships archaeologically recovered along Alexandria's waterfront. See if you can spot our city archaeologists moving timbers in the pools! Footage courtesy of Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. a Davey Company.
Alexandria's 18th Century Ship Sets Sail (June 26, 2017)
Alexandria's 18th century ship, excavated in January 2016, has been sent to Texas A&M University's Conservation Research Laboratory in College Station, Texas for a multi-year conservation process.
Nautical Discoveries at 220 South Union Street (January 7, 2016)
In December 2015, Alexandria archaeologists uncovered the remains of the hull of a fifty-foot vessel on the Indigo Hotel construction site at 220 S. Union Street. Scuttled sometime in the late eighteenth century, the ship served as the framework for part of the landfill process that extended the waterfront out to the deep channel of the Potomac River.