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Updates from Colonial Williamsburg's Archaeology Department

February 13, 2015

What’s in a Name?

The reconstructed Armoury Tin Shop, 2012.

In 1932 Colonial Williamsburg architects uncovered the brick foundations of a 16 by 24-foot building on colonial lot 17, next door to James Anderson’s

Figure 1. 1932 archaeology of the “tin shop”.

Publick Armoury (Figure 1). A reference made to this building in an early 19th century will … Continue Reading »

January 30, 2015


Detail of a 1928 aerial photograph showing Nicholson Street (upper left to lower right) at Botetourt.

When we talk about history at Colonial Williamsburg, it’s the 18th century that comes first to mind. While the 18th century is certainly our research and interpretive focus, archaeologists spend a great deal of time (literally) sifting and … Continue Reading »

December 31, 2014

Places We’ve Been and Some Things We Have Found in 2014

This has been an exciting year for Colonial Williamsburg archaeologists. In case you missed it, here are a few of the highlights. Click on the images for a better view, and for a bit of text describing the action. Happy New Year!

See the gallery »

December 4, 2014

Taking a closer look

Colonial Williamsburg’s Archaeological Conservation Lab.


Viewing artifacts through a microscope helps archaeological conservator Emily Williams to clean with more precision.

I spent much of this morning peering through a microscope at a little lump of corrosion that got smaller and smaller as I carefully picked away at it with a scalpel, until slowly … Continue Reading »

November 14, 2014

An Archaeological Salute to Wig Making

Wig curlers from the Coffeehouse Site.

This weekend, Colonial Williamsburg kicks off the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Kings Arms Barber and Wig Shop, one of our most popular trade sites. Think that archaeologists have nothing to say about 18th century wigs? Guess again. According to Associate Curator of Archaeological Collections, Kelly … Continue Reading »

October 22, 2014

What is the Frenchman’s Map?

The Frenchman’s Map (1782).

Whether one is looking for treasure or the closest Starbucks, most searches are more productive with a map. Colonial Williamsburg’s archaeologists are the first to admit this, which is why each of our excavations begins by consulting the Frenchman’s Map.

The Frenchman’s Map is a Revolutionary War-period map of Williamsburg. Hand-drawn … Continue Reading »