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Historic 3rd ship uncovered by archaeologists in Alexandria

WASHINGTON — Alexandria, Virginia, is once again on the international map for archaeological discoveries after a third 18th-century ship was unearthed at Robinson Landing in the Old Town area of the city.

The ship will be on display for the public to see and enjoy on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., from the unit block of Wolfe Street. Archaeologists will be on hand to answer questions.

Archaeologists, working with developer EYA LLC under a city-approved resource management plan, found the remains of the ship on March 29. It is believed to have been buried before 1798, the city said in a Wednesday news release.

It comes after discoveries of two 18th-century vessels earlier in March.

All three ships were discovered near to each other and are believed to have been built in the mid-to-late 1700s, and buried before the end of the 18th-century.

Another similar ship was discovered nearby at the Hotel Indigo site in late 2015.

“The combination of Revolutionary War-era ships, early building foundations, and thousands of other artifacts makes Robinson Landing one of the most archaeologically significant sites in Virginia,” Acting City Archaeologist Eleanor Breen said in a news release.

“The discoveries at this site have gained international attention, and the city is working with EYA to identify and preserve these important pieces of Alexandria’s history.”

Work is now underway to preserve the city’s latest archaeological treasure.

“We’re committed to this unprecedented effort to protect the archaeological history of Old Town. The results have gone well beyond what we expected, and we are thrilled by the significance of the findings and their unique ability to preserve the legacy of the city for years to come,” Evan Goldman, EYA LLC vice president of acquisition and development, said in the release.

The active construction site will not be open to the public during the viewing, but the most recent and largest ship discovery will be visible.

The ship will be covered before and after the viewing in order to protect the wood from exposure.

Street parking will be extremely limited and participants are encouraged to use other forms of transportation to get to the site and to park in nearby garages or lots.

Archaeologists hope as the development of the Alexandria waterfront continues, future excavations will unearth additional evidence of early wharves and piers, maritime vessels, early industries, and commercial and domestic activities.

Alexandria has an Archaeological Protection Code that requires developers to have archaeologists on site to monitor all phases of ground disturbance that ensures any historic features encountered during demolition and construction are dealt with properly.


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