Summer dig unearths garden

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September 4, 2007

5:09 PM

This summer has seen a rash of archaeological discoveries at the Wren Building, Werowocomoco and Colonial Parkway.

p. Steve Archer, a professor in the department of anthropology, led a dig this summer in the triangular area formed by the Wren Building, the president’s house and the Brafferton. What he and the dozen student researchers found proves that the area was once a thriving garden rather than the park it is today.

p. “We have additional evidence of the first formal garden depicted on the c. 1740 Bodleian plate engraving,” he said. While preparing to renovate Colonial Williamsburg in the 1920s, researchers discovered a copper printing plate in the Bodleian Library in England. The plate depicts the Wren Building at that time and shows large gardens teeming with flora.

p. “We are interpreting several features we’ve found as a walkway border, a hedgerow, a topiary planting and a planting bed edge. We’ve also found some more remnants of late 18th century and early 19th century landscaping — several walkways in the south part of the yard in front of the Brafferton kitchen,” Archer said.

p. “We’ve also found a lot of interesting artifacts amid the garden features that span the whole history of the College, from personal artifacts like smoking pipes to military ammunition

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