Archaeology of the 500 Block of King Street

The site of the Alexandria Courthouse, on the 500 block of King Street, was the last of the six Urban Renewal blocks to be excavated in the 1960s and 1970s.

Page updated on Mar 10, 2020 at 10:40 AM

Urban Archaeology on Alexandria's Main Street

500 Block of King Street excavation, 1977

500 Block of King Street (south side)

In 1967, two thirds of the 500 block (south) of King Street were demolished as part of the King Street Urban Renewal Project undertaken by the City of Alexandria. A parking lot occupied the empty space until the fall of 1977, when construction of a new Courthouse and an underground parking lot were due to begin. The 500 block south redevelopment was the last of six urban renewal projects planned by the City of Alexandria. 

Located on Alexandria’s main street, the inhabitants of the 500 block lived and worked in the commercial and political core of Alexandria. Since its first occupation in the 1780's, the block was characterized by social, economic, and ethnic diversity. From rich merchants to widowed wives to enslaved peoples, archaeologists uncovered the artifacts of a decidedly eclectic community. 

This site was excavated in 1977 by former City Archaeologist Pamela J. Cressey, along with staff and volunteers. The work was funded in part by a grant from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Amanda Iacobelli worked with Dr. Cressey to cull through field records, artifact catalogues and historic research, to provide this summary of the archaeology and history of the block.

See a list of publications and unpublished papers on this site. These can be read by appointment at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. 

The Archaeology Project: Site 44AX1

History of the Block

The People