Public Archaeology in the Nation’s Capital: The Yarrow Mamout Project

Author(s): Ruth Trocolli; Mia Carey

Year: 2016


A unique project in Washington, D.C. was initiated by residents when redevelopment threatened a property once owned by Yarrow Mamout. Freed in 1797, Yarrow was literate in Arabic when he was enslaved in west Africa. He purchased a Georgetown lot in 1800 and upon his death was said to be buried in his garden. While many Georgetown residents at the time were former slaves, Yarrow stands out only because his portrait was painted twice. As with most formerly enslaved property owners, he left only a trace in the documentary record. Archaeology is the only avenue for directly accessing more tangible evidence with which to understand his life story. The DC Historic Preservation Office is sponsoring a public archaeology project and utilizing donated resources to conduct excavations on Yarrow’s former property. The efforts unite archaeologists, neighbors, K-12 educators, local universities, the Muslim community, historic preservationists, and a host of volunteers.

Cite this Record

Public Archaeology in the Nation’s Capital: The Yarrow Mamout Project. Ruth Trocolli, Mia Carey. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405243)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.815; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -66.753; max lat: 47.398 ;