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Updates from Colonial Williamsburg's Archaeology Department

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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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October 3, 2014

Crazy About Oysters!

Staff, Interns, and Volunteers gather to scrub oyster shells. Who says we don’t know how to have fun?

Last week we gathered together staff, interns, and volunteers here at CW’s Environmental Archaeology Lab to begin tackling the long process of cleaning, sorting, and analyzing more than 1,900 oyster shells recovered just from a single …

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September 18, 2014

Changing Seasons

Monday marked an important day in our archaeological calendar.

On Friday, final samples were collected from the Wren Yard Site, and on Monday morning Colonial Williamsburg’s archaeologists arrived at their offices, cleanly attired and ready to begin a new “season” of work. Archaeologists are sometimes mistakenly accused of having active and inactive times of the year. …

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September 4, 2014

What’s Brewing in the Wren Yard?


The Wren Yard Site from far above. Photo credit: Willie Graham.

Early this summer we hinted about another excavation taking place simultaneously with the Bray School project. This week we are finishing that excavation. Since mid-May Colonial Williamsburg’s archaeologists have been exposing the foundation of an eighteenth-century building on the College of William and Mary’s …

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