Archeologists uncovering more than expected at Court Square site

Archeologists are digging out some of Charlottesville’s history.
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 5:20 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Archeologists are digging out some of Charlottesville’s history. They’re about a month in to the city’s Court Square Project and are finding more than they anticipated.

“Lots of evidence of late 18th and early 19th century activity here,” Rivanna Archeological Services Project Manager Nick Bonharper said Tuesday, March 21.

The site is filled with more than 300 orange flags, each noting a spot where a hole has previously dug.

“We’re really looking for anything that sort of tells us about the lives of the people that were living in the space,” Archeologist Craig Kelley said.

They’re finding animal bones, teeth, pottery, and handcrafted pipes.

“This is somebody’s sort of daily space: There’s yard space, there’s a lot of fence lines that sort of tell us we’re in different people’s yards,” Kelley said. “Being able to find everything that we found is just been really incredible.”

“We don’t often, if very rarely, find a site on the scale that has so much that’s well preserved of a particular period,” Bonharper said.

They thought Jack Jouette would be buried here because his tavern is in front of the lot.

“It seemed he was buried out here, so we were looking for signs of a grave,” Bonharper said.

However, there has been no evidence of that.

Archeologists were expected to wrap up their work in a week or two, but all of those little flags suggest they need more time before the city can start its construction project.

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