Robert Carter House Excavations to be Topic of July 25 Archaeology Group Meeting

Accounts of recent excavations at Colonial Williamsburg's Robert Carter House will be presented by Mark Kostro, senior staff archaeologist, on July 25, during the monthly meeting of the Historic Triangle Chapter of the Archeological Society of Virginia. The new chapter of the statewide organization will also hold officer elections and make plans for group involvement in area projects. The meeting will be held in the Community Room at Riverside Doctors' Hospital Williamsburg at 7 pm.

Work at the Robert Carter House reflects the thrill of ongoing discovery at Colonial Williamsburg, where some may think the Historic Area is a finished product. In fact, the organization's staff of research professionals continually find new documentation that alters the look of the town and the way its stories are told. Foremost among the research discoveries are those unearthed by a robust archaeology program; previously only 15 to 20 percent of the property was fully excavated. Mark Kostro and his associates are focused on the Robert Carter House since it is one of the largest and most prominent properties in Williamsburg, located on Palace Green next to the Governors Palace. Recent architectural study of house timber revealed it was built in 1727, much earlier than formerly believed, when the property was owned by Robert "King" Carter, one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Virginia. The house was named by Colonial Williamsburg for his grandson, Robert Carter III, who purchased the house in 1761 and lived there with his family until 1772. During the summer of 2017, the property's unique terraced landscape was the focus of the annual College of William & Mary/Colonial Williamsburg archaeological field school. Evidence of garden paths and planting beds were identified. During the summer 2018 field school, a rich artifact midden near a ravine separating the Carter property from the Governor's Palace yielded colonial era artifacts shedding new light on three generations of Carters, as well as numerous enslaved African-American domestic servants.

Mark Kostro is a senior staff archaeologist with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and the director of the annual Colonial Williamsburg/College of William & Mary field school in historical archaeology. He earned a B.A. in History and Anthropology from Rutgers University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Anthropology from the College of William & Mary. He has more than 24 years of experience with Chesapeake and Caribbean historical archaeology. While at Colonial Williamsburg, he has overseen archaeological investigations at the College of William and Mary's Brafferton Indian School (2011-12) and the Bray African-American School (2012-14), as well as at the Raleigh Tavern porch (2016). He has taught anthropology at The College of William & Mary and Christopher Newport University. In 2015, Kostro was appointed by Williamsburg City Council to serve on the Architectural Review Board.

The new Historic Triangle Chapter of ASV will serve the greater Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown area. For more information, contact Forrest Morgan, ASV Vice-President and sponsor of the newly organizing chapter, at (804) 725-3121 or

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