Archaeology on the Waterfront

As redevelopment takes place along the waterfront, archaeologists have the opportunity to learn more about the city’s maritime past.

Page updated on Jul 22, 2019 at 12:19 PM

Archaeology on the Waterfront

As redevelopment takes place along Alexandria's waterfront, archaeologists are exploring the properties undergoing development. Excavations took place in 2015-2016 at the Hotel Indigo Site at 220 S. Union Street and in 2017-2018 at Robinson Terminal South, at 2 Duke Street.  

At the Hotel Indigo Site, Archaeologists uncovered the remains of the hull of a fifty-foot vessel, as well as John Carlyle's 1755 public warehouse. Excavation took place in 2015-2016, and remains of this ship and warehouse are now undergoing conservation.

At Robinson Terminal South archaeologists have located the remains of three 18th century ships, as well as foundations of Hooe's 18th century warehouse and store and the 19th century Pioneer Mill.

Archaeological excavation on these two blocks was conducted by archaeologists from Thunderbird Archaeology, a division of Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc., working in coordination with the Alexandria city archaeologists. As required by the Alexandria Archaeological Protection Code, Thunderbird’s work is funded by the developers; Carr City Centers for the Hotel Indigo Site and EYA, LLC for Robinson Terminal South. Conservation is funded by the City of Alexandria, grants, and generous contributions to the Save our Ship Conservation Fund.

Passed by City Council in 1989, the Archaeological Protection Code requires developers to hire archaeological consultants to conduct investigations prior to construction on land with the potential to contain buried sites of historical significance. This will provide an opportunity for archaeologists to explore the 18th and 19th–century history of the City as development along the waterfront continues. 

Waterfront Sites

Excavation Highlights

  

    Waterfront History


    Save Our Ships! Conservation Fund

    220 S Union Ship (13). Courtesy, Anna Frame.

    Alexandria’s rich maritime heritage needs your help! In addition to four historic ships, archaeologists unearthed the remains of a bustling waterfront neighborhood. We need your help to preserve, conserve, and interpret these amazing artifacts for future generations.


    Alexandria Waterfront History Plan

    Prior to the current waterfront redevelopment, the Alexandria Archaeological Commission prepared the Alexandria Waterfront History Plan in 2010. A subcommittee of the Commission, the Archaeological Commission Ship Committee, is now tasked with coming up with recommendations about what will happen with the ship(s) that were found during archaeological excavations along the waterfront. Meetings are announced on the City calendar .




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