Proposed Approval of Archeological Investigation

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The National Park Service (NPS) proposes a finding of No Historic Properties Adversely Affected for an undertaking planned by the George Washington Foundation, owner of the 75-acre George Washington's Boyhood Home National Historic Landmark ("Ferry Farm"): an archaeological investigation. The NPS reviews their request for approval of the archaeological investigation under the terms of the conservation easement that it holds for Ferry Farm. The easement allows the Foundation to propose "archaeological investigations" to the NPS for review and approval, investigations that may occur under the direction of a qualified, NPS-approved professional archaeologist. As the archaeological work is planned by the Foundation, and would be implemented by them, the federal undertaking under review is the NPS's proposed No Historic Properties Adversely Affected finding.

For location-map; site plans; description of proposed archaeological investigation; delineation of Area of Potential Effect; site photos; and proposed research design, excavation strategy, and curation/cataloging, see "Document List" link at upper left on this webpage for pdf document, Scope of Work: Proposed Archaeological Investigation at George Washington's Boyhood Home National Historic Landmark ("Ferry Farm"), Stafford County, Virginia, 2019.

The NPS reviews easement-based proposals under the terms of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Approved archaeological investigations, the Ferry Farm easement adds, "shall be documented and reported." Since 2011, such documentation has been accomplished through the following types of reports: an annual status report, including of cataloging, curation, and scholarly activity; an interim technical report; and a monograph technical report.

This review combines (the combination occurring with the approval of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources) the Section 106/National Historic Preservation Act steps of Initiation of Consultation, Identification of Historic Properties, and Assessment of Effects.

For the 2019 field season, and as described in the attached Scope of Work, the George Washington Foundation's Department of Archaeology proposes to excavate within an area in the southeast corner of the Washington Farm Workyard.

Identification of Historic Properties: Ferry Farm is both a collection of archeological sites (including Virginia 44ST174) and a cultural landscape.

Proposed NPS Determination of No Historic Properties Adversely Affected: There would be no adverse visual effects due to the temporary (three-month) nature of the proposed archaeological investigation, and its screening from adjoining interpretive areas by the wattle- and plank fencing surrounding the 100' x 100' yard in which it would be situated. Additionally, the NPS Regional Archaeologist has reviewed the attached Scope of Work and recommends that, the George Washington Foundation "has proposed an excavation methodology in line with past years of previous excavation. They are proposing to leave intact, or mostly intact, features and stratigraphy. Ferry Farm [the Foundation] should be allowed to continue their summer excavations, as allowed under the Easement with NPS, and in line with the conditions and stipulations outlined in the previous Programmatic Agreement, while a new Programmatic Agreement is being written."

Contact Information

Noel Harrison, Manager of Easements
(540) 693-3200 x1020