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250-year-old cherries found buried beneath George Washington’s Mount Vernon home

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As per the latest reports, archaeologists have unearthed an extraordinary find in the basement of George Washington’s residence at Mount Vernon. If reports are to go by, two fully intact jars of cherries buried beneath the first US President’s home have been discovered.

Nick Beard, the project archaeologist at Mount Vernon, discovered the jars while excavating the basement over a period of time. Reports add that initially, he thought they might be ordinary bottles like wine bottles or glasses, which are commonly found at the site. However, when he returned to the bottles several weeks later, he noticed more glasses exposed and realised they were filled with liquid.


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This discovery excited Beard, as intact bottles filled with liquid are rare. Other archaeologists were called in to examine the find, and the jars were fully excavated on March 22 as part of the ongoing Mansion Revitalisation Project at Mount Vernon.

The cherries and a mysterious liquid were found inside the jars. Surprisingly, the cherries retained their plump appearance, with flesh, pits, and stems, despite being preserved for hundreds of years.

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The liquid also emitted a scent reminiscent of cherry blossoms. The exact nature of the liquid is still uncertain, and further testing will be conducted to determine its composition. Lily Carhart, curator of the preservation collections at Mount Vernon, speculated that groundwater may have entered the bottle due to the deterioration of the cork seal. It is also possible that the liquid was a type of alcohol, such as brandy or cognac, although this is yet to be confirmed.

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They are of the view that the cherries were picked by enslaved laborers, wiped clean to prevent condensation, and placed in the jar. The jar was then sealed with a cork and buried between 1758 and 1776 when George and Martha Washington resided in the home.

This method of preservation allowed the cherries to remain preserved for up to a year, serving as a popular technique for preserving fruits in colonial America before the advent of refrigeration. Unfortunately, the cherries are not edible due to their age and preservation method.

250-year-old cherries found buried beneath George Washington’s Mount Vernon home

The significance of this discovery lies not only in the remarkable preservation of the cherries, but also in the stories that can be unveiled through them. It provides a unique connection to the past, allowing archaeologists to piece together aspects of the lives of those who lived during that time. It is a tangible link to the past, shedding light on the real lives of individuals from the 18th century. The excavation of these bottles serves as an example of the historical value of archaeological finds and the insights they offer into the past.

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