By Esther White / Director of Archaeology
A fun aspect of working at Mount Vernon is that occasionally famous people visit. During the excavation of the South Grove midden, Willard Scott spent a morning at Mount Vernon doing live broadcasts from the plantation for his weather segments on the Today Show. You guessed it – one of the spots he broadcast from was the archaeological site!
Willard and crew visited in July 1990. The weather was very hot and we had just begun excavations of a small 10 x 10 foot square near the spot where the grounds crew had uncovered artifacts and rich, dark soil while installing a sprinkler system just a few months earlier. We were conducting an archaeological field school with George Mason University and most of the students and crew were working directly behind the kitchen, just behind Mr. Scott. That’s where a midden was dug up in the 1940s and we wanted to see if any of that midden was still intact – it wasn’t.
So on this morning in July 1990, chief archaeologist Dennis Pogue showed Mr. Scott the very top of the midden. We had just uncovered a small portion of the feature and were anticipating what treasures might be buried. To the left, Anna Borden and Kerri Blackwell, the excavators of square 328, watch. It was an exciting morning and this has always been one of our favorite photographs of the excavation.