Archaeologists Uncover History “Berry’d” Underneath George Washington’s Mount Vernon Home

MOUNT VERNON, VA- George Washington’s Mount Vernon home in Virginia is a historic place itself. Recently, archaeologists made a rare find in the cellars of the mansion.  

Just half an hour south of Washington, D.C. is Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. Each year, the site expects millions of people to visit but recently something unexpected happened.  

“Well we made a truly spectacular discovery,” said Jason Boroughs, Mount Vernon Principal Archaeologist.  

While archaeologists were in the mansion’s storage pits in the cellars, they came across something that hasn’t seen the light of day since before America became America.  

“We recovered 35 bottles,” said Boroughs. “29 of which are complete as these and held contents that were placed in the bottles 250 plus years ago of various different types of fruits which have been preserved spectacularly which is the breathtaking part of this discovery.” 

Some of them contained cherries. Others potentially gooseberries or currants. 

“So that was very exciting to see that there was fruit, there’s whole fruits in these bottles,” said Lily Carhart, Curator of Preservations Collections at Mount Vernon.  

Researchers said they hope these bottles and the preservation of the fruit will shed some light about life centuries ago.  

“We are learning about the food preservation practices being employed here,” said Carhart. “We’ve never found anything quite like this at Mount Vernon I will say we have not found whole fruit remains. We have found botanical samples like seeds and pits and things like that but oftentimes those were burnt or waterlogged in wells, but we’ve found so much, so much incredibly rich information through every excavation we’ve done at Mount Vernon.”  

This discovery happened as the mansion is going through a multimillion-dollar revitalization project to make sure history, like these fruits, is preserved. And as for the future, they’re hopeful for another unexpected find.