Analysis of Ash and Slag Deposits at George Washington's Mount Vernon

Author(s): Lily Carhart

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Meaning in Material Culture" session, at the 2019 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

In 1987, two large features consisting primarily of slag, ash, charcoal, iron waste and trim, were excavated in the area known as the North Grove at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. This area, directly north of the mansion, is adjacent to the blacksmith shop, which led to the conclusion that the features were the primary blacksmithing waste deposits. However, the blacksmith shop is likely not the sole origin of this material. Ash and other waste products were also being generated in other nearby locations including in the mansion itself. This paper analyzes the waste products found in these deposits to identify fuel sources and manufacturing techniques used in the blacksmith shop and moreover, to explore the significance of the location of these deposits in their proximity not only to the blacksmith shop and other dependencies, but also to domestic spaces of both the Washingtons’ as well as the enslaved community’s. 

Cite this Record

Analysis of Ash and Slag Deposits at George Washington's Mount Vernon. Lily Carhart. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, St. Charles, MO. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449130)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Ash Blacksmith Slag

Geographic Keywords
United States of America

Temporal Keywords
18th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 408