Robinson Terminal South Excavation Update: Buildings along Wolfe Street

In February 2018, archaeological work at the future site of Robinson Landing continued as archaeologists uncovered several interesting features and buildings of archaeological and architectural significance.

Page archived as of March 9, 2019

Note: The information on this page reflects the state of knowledge when this update was written. Information may have changed. 

Buildings along Wolfe Street

February 2018

Archaeology continues at Robinson Landing as archaeologists uncover and document more of the site. Recently, they uncovered several unusual features.

Brick HearthThis brick feature is inside the footprint of a brick and stone building found just behind 2 Duke Street and adjacent to where The Strand used to run through this block. On the right side of the stone wall here is a fairly typical hearth or fireplace. On the left side of the stone wall are two sloping brick surfaces with a small gap between them resting on a wooden plank that may have served as a level surface for construction. Small holes in the brick at either end of the gap could allow for the circulation of air or the removal of ashes if this feature was used for heating or cooking. The change in wall construction from stone to brick suggests that this part of the brick feature might be located inside a shed or addition to the original structure. This building and feature are in roughly the same location as a kitchen known to be attached to the rear of 2 Duke Street during the Civil War; however, initial analysis of the artifacts recovered from this feature appear to be much earlier.  

Circular Brick Feature

Archaeologists have also uncovered this pie-shaped feature tucked into a corner of a building in the middle of the site. Most brick cisterns, wells, and privies are circular, so it is unusual to find one shaped like this.

Stone and Brick Foundation

Work has also resumed on the complex of buildings along Wolfe Street. This building near the corner of S. Union Street and Wolfe is noteworthy because it has three bays resting on stone foundations with wood frame construction still present in the north and south bays. The foundations measure 42 by 25 feet, are aligned several degrees off of the street grid, and appear to have been built on infill as opposed to original ground. Wood left in the ground does not usually survive for archaeologists to discover, so these preserved beams provide an excellent opportunity to study wood frame architecture of early Alexandria.

Wood Sill and Mortises

These mortises were cut into this sill in order to attach vertical posts or studs that would have formed the building’s wall. Similar mortises were found on the 1755 Carlyle Warehouse excavated across the street in 2015. Archaeologists will also excavate a 5 bv 2.5 foot wood-lined privy at the back of the lot where the three-bayed building stood.

The Strand

Back in August, archaeologists uncovered and documented an original stretch of The Strand. They are currently preparing to excavate a small trench across it in order to better understand its construction and determine if this is the original surface.