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Historical Ship Found Buried Under Hotel Construction Site In Alexandria, Virginia

| by Karin Sun
Historical ship found in AlexandriaHistorical ship found in Alexandria

A historical ship dating back to the Revolutionary War period has reportedly been discovered at a hotel construction site in Alexandria, Virginia.

Archaeologists and construction workers discovered the hull of the large, wooden ship buried in a construction site on South Union Road, where the new 120-room Hotel Indigo is set to be built, the Washington Post reports.

The site is located near the waterfront in Alexandria's Old Town neighborhood.

Archaeologists believe the vessel was constructed sometime between 1775 and 1798 and is approximately 250 years old. They also believe that the ship may have been either a military vessel or used by 18th century builders to construct the early framework for the city's waterfront.

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On Jan. 4, naval archaeologists helped the construction crew at the site dismantle the vessel and search for clues as to where the ship may have sailed and what it may have carried. The findings were open to public viewing from 10 a.m. to noon on Jan. 5, but have since been removed from the site.

The wooden planks of the ship will reportedly be stored in tanks or in a natural body of water until the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab in St. Leonard, Maryland, is able to take them. The conservation lab currently does not have the space necessary to accommodate the vessel.

Archaeologists at the site of the discovery said that the ship was found in unusually good condition.  

"This almost never happens," Dan Baicy told the Post. "In 15 years that I've done this work, I've never run into this kind of preservation in an urban environment where there's so much disturbance."

Baicy is the field director of Thunderbird Archaeology, a firm that the city hired to search for historical remains during the construction of the hotel.

"This is like the jewel in the crown for us now," John Mullen, Thunderbird's lead archaeologist, added.

Since construction began, workers have also discovered other archaeological treasures including the foundation of a warehouse dating back to 1755 and several outhouses containing remnants of old shoes and other items that were thrown into them centuries ago. The most recent outhouse discovered was about 6 feet long and possibly three seats wide.

Local residents of the city who viewed the ship expressed their wonder at the discovery.  

"I think it's great," one person told Fox 5 DC. "It's like a great window into the past."

"It makes you wonder what else is hidden and underneath our ground here," another resident remarked.

Local archaeologist Francine Bromberg said that she was thrilled to learn of the discovery of the centuries-old vessel.

"A remarkable archaeological dream basically," she added.

Carr Hospitality, the construction company developing the hotel, has paid for the ship's removal, but the city of Alexandria will reportedly shoulder the costs of its preservation.  

Sources: The Washington Post, Fox 5 DC / Photo Credit: Fox 5 DC