Liz Bucklen and Colleen Betti help document a pre-1766 building partially beneath the courthouse green.Archaeologists uncovered three colonial foundations this month during utility work in and around the Gloucester Courthouse Green (see photos below). With the support of Gloucester's Public Works and the Parks and Recreation Department, test excavations of one of these buildings will be open for public viewing from 9-5, Monday through Thursday (August 8th-11th) with possible additional days in the weeks that follow. Come visit us as we uncover artifacts from the mid-18th century hidden for 250 years and learn about the colonial landscape that pre-dates our standing colonial courthouse (ca. 1766).Future blogs will go in greater detail, but as of this week we have learned the following. First, there are at least three colonial buildings north of the standing courthouse and two of them pre-date that building. Second, the earlier buildings are not oriented in the same direction, suggesting they may also date to different periods. Third, melted bottle glass, ceramics, and metal - along with ash deposits - are associated with two of the buildings, suggesting that fire may have led to their demise. Gloucester's surviving court documents, including a 1754 plat of the courthouse green, offer tantalizing clues to the history of this landscape and the buildings that once made up this 6-acre parcel of land donated by the Gwynn family in the 17th century. As excavations continue this coming week, we look forward to learning more about this earlier courthouse complex and sharing these discoveries with the public.Interested in learning more? While volunteer opportunities for this week-long project are limited, you are welcome to visit and ask questions, learning more about our volunteer activities throughout the year on projects across the Middle Peninsula. Please contact us at 804-815-4467 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to work with you and share in the excitement of rediscovering our past.
Detail image of the northwest corner of a pre-1766 foundation. This will be the subject of our fieldwork from August 8th through August 11th.
Liz Bucklen investigates the pre-1766 cellar's entrance.
Chinese porcelain with polychrome overglaze recovered from the robbers' trench on a pre-1766 building west of the courthouse.
North wall of a pre-1766 building that extends underneath the standing courthouse. The rubble-filled trench marks the location of the foundation, a portion of the bricks removed for use elsewhere.
The pre-1766 building west of the courthouse incorporates compass bricks, typically used in the construction of wells, as a part of the foundation.
For more information about Fairfield and other historic resources on the Middle Peninsula, please contact us. We can arrange tours of the Fairfield site and deliver presentations on a variety of topics related to local history and archaeology.
The Fairfield Foundation
P.O. Box 157
White Marsh VA 23183 Phone: (804) 815-4467