Archaeological Dig at the Ravine

The Coffeehouse ravine post-excavation showing natural grade with erosion-cut

Though it has been awhile since we’ve posted anything on the Coffeehouse blog, we wanted to mention that we've recently added a new short article to the site. It’s a synopsis of the recent archaeological work that's been done in the ravine near the Coffeehouse.
Click here to read “Archaeology News at Charlton's Coffeehouse.”

Coffeehouse Conversations - A Recap

In honor of the Coffeehouse opening, we wanted to repost links to all of the Coffeehouse Conversations videos. As you may recall, these short videos document a broad-range of parts of the project, and feature many of our staff members who have worked on the project. Many thanks to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Division of Productions, Publications, and Learning Ventures, who produced all of these videos.

All of the videos require Adobe Flash® to view. If you don't have Adobe Flash installed, you can download a free version from Adobe's website.

Coffeehouse Conversations 10 - A Particular Charm

We've posted the tenth video in our Coffeehouse Conversations series; this episode is entitled A Particular Charm, and features Jim Horn, Vice President for Research and Historical Interpretation.

In this episode, Jim gives a summary of the project and its results. He describes the project's attempts to create as accurate an 18th century Coffeehouse as possible, inside and out. Jim also discusses the role of a Coffeehouse in Colonial society, as well as the role of Charlton's in the environment and experience of Colonial Williamsburg. Coffeehouse Conversations is produced by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's division of Productions, Publications, and Learning Ventures.

The video is 4 minutes and 37 seconds in length, and requires Adobe Flash® to view. If you don't have Adobe Flash installed, you can download a free version from Adobe's website.

May 18 Update

We wanted to share a quick list of some of the work that has recently been completed on the coffeehouse, as well as work that will be done in the coming weeks.

Last two weeks of work

  • Completed flooring and paper protection on second floor
  • Began framing for partitions and knee walls on second floor
  • Completed archaeology for outbuilding and installed sand over excavation
  • Obtained critical materials to begin plastering
  • Continued mechanical/electrical/plumbing rough-ins and hookup of three water source heat pumps
  • Installed quarry tile at cellar footprint of dumbwaiter
  • Installed dumbwaiter
  • Continued cleaning and re-pointing of masonry walls
  • Continued building mantels offsite
  • Removed white fence southeast of building and replaced with post and double rail fence
  • Completed flooring in southeast room on first floor
  • Continued making hardware offsite
  • Made lime offsite from shells for mortar and plaster

Next two weeks of scheduled work

  • Complete flooring on first floor
  • Install remaining partitions on first floor
  • Install trim in southeast and north rooms on first floor
  • Install metal lathe for plaster in southeast and north rooms on first floor
  • Begin framing for west stairs
  • Complete framing for partitions and knee walls on second floor
  • Finish installing sheetrock in cellar
  • Install post and rail fence south of ravine and remove white picket fence
  • Continue cleaning and re-pointing of masonry walls
  • Begin installing brick pavers in kitchen
  • Continue building mantels offsite
  • Continue making hardware offsite

Photo by Joshua Muse

April 15th Update

We wanted to share a quick list of some of the work that has recently been completed on the coffeehouse, as well as work that will be done in the coming weeks.

Last two weeks of work

  • Completed installing shingles on the north side of roof and the dormers, and installed flashing for the chimney at roof
  • Removed scaffolding from the rear of the coffeehouse
  • Installed the concrete slab in cellar
  • Installed/tamped the fill material in the kitchen, to ready it for brick pavers
  • Continued mechanical/electrical/plumbing rough-ins, and delivered the three geothermal heat pumps to the cellar
  • Completed the installation of the ADA ramp at the east end of the porch
  • Cut bricks for the first floor hearths
  • Continued the archaeology at the outbuilding foundation, just to the northeast
  • Began applying spray foam insulation to the exterior walls and underside of roof
  • Began installing the partition walls in the cellar
  • Began installation of the fence on the new west retainer wall
  • Removed the construction fence on the west side
  • Reworked grades and paving near the retainer wall and ramp

Next two weeks of scheduled work

  • Complete application of spray foam insulation
  • Complete framing of partition walls in cellar, and fur out masonry walls in servery.
  • Complete installation of the fence on the new west retainer wall
  • Begin to paint the coffeehouse exterior - though the siding was painted before it was installed, we'll be adding a final coat of paint.
  • Continue cleaning and re-pointing of the masonry walls
  • Complete mechanical/electrical/plumbing rough-ins in the cellar, and hookup the heat pumps
  • Install flooring on the second floor
  • Install sashes in the second floor windows
  • Install framing for partitions and knee walls on second floor
  • Begin rough-in for the east stairway
  • Begin to install flooring on first floor
  • Install the post and rail fence along east side of ravine

Photos by Clyde Kestner

More Photos:

Webcam Moved

We wanted to let everyone know about the shift in the coffeehouse webcam. With the relative lack of exterior activity at the building, we've moved the camera to face north; this new perspective shows off the work being done by the archaeologists at the foundations of the outbuilding, just to the northeast of the coffeehouse.

Click here to see the webcam

April Update

We wanted to share a quick list of some of the work that has recently been completed on the coffeehouse, as well as work that will be done in the coming weeks.

Last two weeks of work:

  • Continued installing shingles on the north side of the roof and the dormers.
  • Removed scaffolding from the east and west sides of the building.
  • Installed a railing at the east end of the porch.
  • Installed removable framed plastic covers over the windows.
  • Completed the siding on west and south sides of the building.
  • Re-worked the brick retaining wall between the coffeehouse and Edinburgh Castle, and added another course of brick.
  • Continued mechanical/electrical/plumbing rough-ins.
  • Planted additional ivy and periwinkle on west bank of the ravine.
  • Poured footing for and began installation of the handicapped accessible ramp. The ramp is at the east end of the porch.
  • Installed bricks on the second floor hearths.
  • Installed a mockup plaster panel - this is a small-scale test to verify that materials that make up the siding, frame, insulation, and plaster all work together without problem.

Next two weeks of scheduled work

  • Paint the east and west sides of the coffeehouse - though the siding was painted before it was installed, we'll be adding a final coat of paint.
  • Finish shingling the north roof and dormers.
  • Complete installation of siding on the north side.
  • Remove scaffolding on the north side of the coffeehouse.
  • Complete the handicapped accessible ramp.
  • Install a new fence with a gate on top of the retaining wall.
  • Install fill dirt in the cellar and tamp.
  • Complete mechanical/electrical/plumbing rough-ins in basement.
  • Install the concrete slab in cellar.
  • Begin to install flooring on the second floor.
  • Install post and rail fence along east side of ravine.

Photos by Joshua Muse

We've also included two images to help show the location of the previously mentioned retaining wall.

More Photos:

End of March Update

First off, we wanted to apologize for our lack of recent posts. Over the last few weeks, the Digital History Center has been helping with preparation for the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology Conference. The conference was held last week here in Williamsburg, and seemed to receive a very good response from participants. Anyone who is curious should check out the link: http://caa2009.org/

The Coffeehouse reconstruction is progressing well, and the exterior is moving even closer to completion. Here are a few details:

  • Siding - Is being installed on the north side, and is complete on the other three sides.
  • Shingles - Work is complete on the south roof, and shingling is being finished on the north side of the roof and dormers.
  • Porch - Carpenters are continuing to work on finishing up the porch, including installation of the railings.
  • Retaining Wall - Masons are continuing work on the retaining wall at the southwest corner of the Coffeehouse, as well as building a the base of a handicapped access ramp.
  • Archaeology - Colonial Williamsburg archaeologists have recently started excavating the remains of the outbuilding, just to the east of the Coffeehouse.

Photos by Peter Inker and Joshua Muse

More Photos:

New Articles Posted

We wanted to mention that we've posted three new Coffeehouse-related articles to the site. All three come from the Winter 2008/2009 issue of the Colonial Williamsburg Interpreter.

The first article is entitled “Resurrecting the Coffeehouse,” and is written by Edward A. Chappell. Ed is the Roberts Director of the Department of Architectural and Archaeological Research. The article describes the history of the Coffeehouse, and of our reconstruction project, with a particular focus on architectural concerns. Ed also details much of the evidence that played a part in the reconstruction.
Click here to read “Resurrecting the Coffeehouse”

Our second article is “Charlton's Coffeehouse Archaeology” by Mark Kostro, Andrew Edwards, and Meredith Poole. Mark is a project archaeologist, Andy is a staff archaeologist, and Meredith is a staff archaeologist and coordinator of public programs here at Colonial Williamsburg. Their article describes the archaeology that has occurred at the coffeehouse site, focusing primarily on the work done in the summer of 2008.
Click here to read “Charlton's Coffeehouse Archaeology”

The third is an excerpt from the article “English Coffeehouses” by Emma L. Powers. Lou is an historian in the Department of Historical Research. The excerpt describes the exciting exotic new beverages that became popular in England in the 17th century - coffee, tea, and chocolate.
Click here to read an excerpt from “English Coffeehouses”

The Colonial Williamsburg Interpreter is a publication produced for employee education, and contains articles primarily written by staff researchers and interpreters. An index of articles is available on the library website here, as well as information on getting a copy of an article through interlibrary loan, or in-person at the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library.

Coffeehouse Conversations 1 - Archaeology

A still image from the first episode of Coffeehouse Conversations

(Click on the image above to open the video page)

We've released the first of a series of videos on the reconstruction of Charlton's Coffeehouse. This episode describes the site's archaeology, including artifacts both expected and unexpected, and what we've been able to learn from them.

The video features Staff Archaeologist Andy Edwards, Project Archaeologist Mark Kostro, Associate Curator of Collections Kelly Ladd, and Director of Architectural and Archaeological Research Edward Chappell Edward Chappell. It was produced by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's division of Productions, Publications, and Learning Ventures.

The video is 3 minutes and 50 seconds in length, and is in Quicktime® format. If you don't have Quicktime Player installed, download a free version from Apple's website.

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