After a week of rain, it’s supposed to finally stop raining on Friday here in Williamsburg. We recommend enjoying spending a little time out in the sunshine by wandering down to CW’s Ravenscroft dig to watch our fellow students excavate an 18th-century site. Who didn’t/still does want to be a real-life Indiana Jones? The site is open to the public 9-noon and 1-4 p.m. Monday – Friday through Aug. 29, weather permitting. Hands-on activities for the will be offered at the site between 10-11:30 a.m. through Aug. 1.
Archaeologists, including undergraduate and graduate students of the College, participants in the joint Colonial Williamsburg/College of William and Mary Archaeological Field School, are investigating an early 18th-century site named for one of the property’s first owners, Thomas Ravenscroft. Among the people linked to the site in the years preceding the Revolution are merchant John Holt, printers of The Virginia Gazette William Hunter and Joseph Royle and a long list of enslaved household members.
The current excavation, begun in 2006, applies new archaeological techniques to questions that remain about of a cellar excavated in the 1950s: When was it built and for what purpose? What did the building look like? What types of activities were carried out in this structure? And which of the property’s many owners and residents can be associated with it?
Colonial Williamsburg’s department of archaeological research, in cooperation with the College of William and Mary, conducts yearly archaeological field schools in colonial archaeology for graduate and undergraduate students. The department also oversees the largest colonial period archaeological collection in the United States, consisting of several million objects and fragments recovered during more than 60 years of excavation and extensive comparative historic-period faunal and archaeobotanical collections.
The Ravenscroft dig is located in the Historic Area at the intersection of Botetourt and Nicholson Streets.