George Washington’s Cherries Found

Archaeologists have unearthed 35 glass bottles from the 18th century in the cellar of George Washington’s home. The five storage pits under Mount Vernon contained 29 intact bottles of preserved cherries, a fruit linked to Washington.

Workers discovered the stash during a renovation of Washington’s manor. “Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine this spectacular archaeological discovery,” said Mount Vernon President & CEO Doug Bradburn. “We were ecstatic.” “To our knowledge, this is an unprecedented find and nothing of this scale and significance has ever been excavated in North America.” he added.

The contents of the bottles, some containing berries like currants, have been extracted and refrigerated for scientific analysis. The bottles are drying in the Mount Vernon archaeology lab and will be sent off-site for conservation. “These artifacts likely haven’t seen the light of day since before the American Revolution” said Mount Vernon Principal Archaeologist Jason Boroughs.

Mount Vernon is partnering with the US Department of Agriculture’s Research Service to analyze the contents. They have identified 54 cherry pits and 23 stems, likely from a tart variety. The cherries may be candidates for DNA extraction to determine the species.

The team at Mount Vernon hopes some pits will be viable for growing future fruit trees, especially as the county prepares to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the United States in 2026.

Am I the only one who is curious how those old, fermented cherries would taste like?

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