Archeology! At Colchester, Virginia: Established 1753

June 2, 2013 18:17 – 18:17

Yesterday morning, I ventured down to visit the Colchester Archeology Research Team‘s open house. In a lands-to-parks deal a few years back, Fairfax County acquired a large tract of land near the intersection of Furnace Road and Old Colchester Road, where the colonial town of Colchester was located, on the Occoquan River. At one point it was the second busiest port in Virginia, most of its outbound commerce centering on tobacco. The only remaining building still intact from Colchester is the Fairfax Arms, which is now a private residence.

There are now a number of open archeological excavations with over 100 features having been exposed. Artifacts from the 1750s have been found, as well as artifacts from as far back as 9,000 years ago! Many tools that exhibit Savannah River characteristics have been found. While carbon dating has not been used, the team is confident of the time frame.

Below is one of a number of houses that still stand on the site, but which now belong to Fairfax County. According to the archeologists, the owners of this house had actually begun excavating and looking for artifacts well before the county acquired the land.

Using an old town plan, they are slowly but surely uncovering the foundations of buildings that were present about 260 years ago.

CART Senior Archeologist Chris Sperling led a group of about 20 of us on an extremely informative and educational site tour.

Below, Chris points out where a stone building’s foundation was found.

Below, team member Kayla Marciniszyn explains artifacts that were found where she’s standing.

Below, Kayla displays a pipe and an oyster shell, having just explained that they believe the exposed pit was part of a trash heap, thus explaining the oyster shells they found there.

A little more of the history can be found here:,_Virginia.

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