Mount Vernon, the former home of George Washington, is today a beautifully restored and maintained eighteenth century example of a planter's home. The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union is the beneficiary of the plantation. In recreating daily life during the era of George Washington, an archaeology department was set up in 1989. Two trash middens, one belonging to the House for Families, a slave quarter which housed about sixty slaves who worked in and immediately around the Mansion another trash midden belonging to the Mansion located right outside the kitchen where trash from the house and the kitchen was thrown are the focus of this study. Both middens have been completely excavated. The House for Families midden was completed in 1990 and the report has been written up. The Mansion midden was recently completed this summer and, therefore, only some of the results have been written up and analyzed. I have the information from both sites at my disposal. What I am attempting to do in this Independent Study Thesis is draw a connection between the ceramic sherds and vessels recovered from each of the middens. I propose, using a theory put forth by John Otto, that the Washington family passed on to the slaves ceramic vessels that they wanted to discard. This theory was tested by comparing ceramic categories, ceramic types, and vessel shapes. The results show that the Washington family probably did pass on ceramics to the slaves and that the slaves may have selected certain types of vessels to fit their needs. The study's scope is narrow but the implications of the results are many and provide many avenues for further research


Horowitz, Sheryl


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 1993 Kathryn Wood