Alexandria's 18th Century Ship Selected as one of Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifacts

Page archived as of January 24, 2018

Alexandria Archaeology is excited to announce that the 18th century ship excavated at the site of the new Hotel Indigo has been named by the Virginia Association of Museums (VAM) as one of Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts. This nomination places the ship among a highly regarded and diverse group of artifacts competing for several conservation grants, with generous support from the Blandford-Rees Foundation. Show your support for the ship by voting from January 15 to 24 at

This VAM campaign raises awareness for the importance of preserving artifacts in the care of museums, libraries, archives and historic houses throughout Virginia. The competition showcases the significance of Virginia’s diverse history, heritage and culture, and the role that artifacts play in telling those stories.

The ship is the only archaeological artifact in the Top 10 and is the oldest and by far the largest on this year’s list. “This artifact is our most compelling piece of Alexandria’s rich maritime history and its conservation is vital for telling the story of this place,” said Eleanor Breen, Acting City Archaeologist. The archaeological remains of the vessel’s hull are a rare example in Virginia and on the east coast of a documented and excavated 18th-century merchant ship. 

The artifact lay in a damp environment for over 200 years and requires constant monitoring and care to prevent desiccation. If exposed to air for prolonged periods of time without conservation, the timbers would shrink and warp, irrevocably damaging them and missing the opportunity for scholars and the public to experience this massive, tangible piece of maritime history. Currently, the ship is undergoing a multiyear documentation and conservation process at Texas A&M’s Conservation and Research Laboratory (CRL) in College Station, Texas before it returns home for display. To ensure the preservation of this fragile artifact, Save Our Ship by voting in Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts competition.  

Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts is a program of the Virginia Association of Museums (VAM). VAM is a statewide network serving the museum community with the vision of a united museum community inspiring the world around us.

Alexandria Archaeology, a division of the City of Alexandria, Virginia’s Office of Historic Alexandria, is dedicated to preserving and studying Alexandria’s rich archaeological heritage and fostering within residents and visitors a connection between the past and present while inspiring a sense of stewardship and adventure. Through its museum and programs, this community archaeology program has been engaging the public for more than three decades.

Alexandria Archaeology is also responsible for administering the Alexandria Archaeological Protection Code, which allows the City to preserve archaeological resources and information that would otherwise be lost to ground disturbance and large-scale development projects.

The City of Alexandria is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. To request a reasonable accommodation, e-mail or call 703.746.4399, or Virginia Relay 711.