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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Dig Spotlight: George Washington and.........Whiskey?

Did you know that in 1799, not long before his death, George Washington became one of America's most prominent producers of whiskey? In 1798, he commissioned the construction of a large distillery. Consisting of five stills for processing corn, malt, and rye into whiskey, it produced more than 11,000 gallons of the (then) popular beverage. Archaeologists began excavating the site of the distillery in 1999 and have since discovered the foundations, the system of drains and the locations of the stills. With the data they have collected from the excavations and from other sources, the Mount Vernon staff hope to reconstruct the distillery to its former specifications. Reconstruction is planned to begin this summer.

The Mount Vernon archaeology program employs a permanent staff but they rely heavily on volunteers and student interns for much of their work. For this year, volunteer work will focus on helping with the processing of artifacts and other materials from the excavation and development of the report. If you are interested in volunteering, go to:

For general information about the distillery excavation, go to: www.mountvernon.org/learn/pres_arch/index.cfm/ss/100/


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