Shuter’s Hill, Virginia

The Alexandria Archaeology Museum is holding it’s Dig Days this September. This event encourages the public to share and learn about local archaeology in Alexandria. Members of the public are welcome to take a tour, talk to professional archaeologists, or volunteer on an archaeological dig at Shuter’s Hill.

Guided site tours include a short history tour as well as viewing of the Shuter’s Hill excavation. Participants of the tour will also be given the opportunity to meet City Archaeologist and volunteers working on the dig and view some of the artifacts found thus far. Those volunteering on the dig will receive direction and participate in the excavation at the site during this hour and a half long session.

The Shuter’s Hill site has a long and varied history. The oldest archaeology found at Shuter’s Hill is of prehistoric Native American campsite. Many artifacts associated with these activities have been found at and near the site. These artifacts include a quartzite hand axe, quartzite projectile points, and Native pottery.

However, the majority of artifacts found at Shuter’s Hill are from the historical occupation of the site by Europeans. These artifacts include bottles, rusted cans, broken china, car parts, and a 1920 Mercury dime. The remnants of several buildings have also been uncovered. These structures date before, during, and after the Civil War. Several residences, plantation, and buildings associated with Civil War troop housing once stood on the area.

Investigations at Shuter’s Hill have been conducted since 1995. Investigations have included ground penetrating radar was used to locate the historical buildings, test excavations undertaken in a large brick building dating to the 1850s, and excavation in several of the building including the Lee Plantation Laundry dating to 1786. Investigations will continue this year on the historical structures.

Cost of the guided site tour is free. However, advanced registration is required. Cost of volunteering for a one and a half hour session at the excavation is $5 per session. Advanced registration is also required. Children under the age of sixteen must be accompanied by a participating adult.

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