Updated June 2012
Where to Find Archaeology When You Visit
Excavation: Although excavation is most visible in the Historic Area during the summer months, you may spot archaeologists at work at any season of the year. You are always welcome to watch and ask questions! Our current research focuses on the James Anderson's Blacksmith Shop and Armoury site where, over the last two years archaeologists have exposed foundations of the 18th century kitchen (now reconstructed), and have explored the depths of a ravine where the Armoury’s trash was deposited. Last season’s work helped to identify the location of a tinsmith’s shop which will be rebuilt in 2012.
This season, Colonial Williamsburg’s archaeologists will be busy completing excavation at the back of the Armoury property, along Francis Street. The project is planned to begin June 4, 2012, and will extend through the end of August. Hours of excavation are Monday through Friday 8:45am - 4pm, with a break for lunch from 12 to 1pm. These hours may vary due to inclement weather.
At the west end of town, students in the annual archaeological field school may be found digging behind Brown Hall at the corner of Boundary and Prince George Streets. This year the Field Methods course, taught jointly by Colonial Williamsburg archaeologists and faculty from the College of William and Mary, will focus on locating evidence for the Bray School, a school for enslaved children operating in the 1760s. For more about the Bray School see: http://williamsburg.kspot.org/other/other178.htm and http://hnn.us/articles/137535.html.
The field school project at the Bray School begins in late May and will continue through early August. Students are generally present on site Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 4 (with a break for lunch). Lectures, the exam schedule, and weather may cause changes to this schedule.
Laboratory Tours: Excavation is only a very small part of what archaeologists do. The lab staff is busy year-round, washing, numbering, cataloging, and analyzing finds from the previous summer's work, and re-examining materials from past excavations. To see what happens in the lab, take the 90-minute tour entitled Rubbish, Treasures, and Colonial Life. This tour, offered four times each Tuesday, provides behind-the-scenes access to Colonial Williamsburg’s Archaeology Lab, and focuses on the exciting research that goes on there. Learn how Colonial Williamsburg archaeologists use material evidence to decipher the town's seventeenth- and eighteenth-century history, and see some of the more notable and informative of the several million artifacts recovered through excavations here. You will find the schedule printed in Colonial Williamsburg This Week.