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Archaeology at the President's House: May 1, 2007

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Archaeology has been underway at the PH site for 5 weeks, but the first major finds were last week. At the rear of 528 Market, a 4-foot section of the PH south foundation wall has been uncovered beneath the cellar floor of the 19th century store that replaced it. This section would have been within the bow window. We now know that the kitchen ell had a full basement. Also under 528's cellar floor, the archaeologists have uncovered the northwest corner of the kitchen's foundation wall. They anticipate being able to uncover the entire kitchen's foundations. Nothing of the Servants' Hall (apparently, no cellar) has yet to been found. As of yesterday, 2 wells had been located. One, on the line between 528 and 530, is probably the one dug in October 1790, and used by Washington and Adams. The other, beneath the President's office, may have served the Masterses, Penns, and Benedict Arnold. Or it may be from the first decade of the 19th century (my expectation). The 3rd well, squeezed between the main house and the kitchen, was used by Robert Morris, and abandoned in November 1790 (according to documentary sources). All 3 wells are likely sources for artifacts, as are the privy pits I conjecture at the rear of 524. Get down and see the site in the next week or two before it all is reburied! –Ed Lawler, Jr.

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