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Fredericksburg News

Posted on: April 29, 2019

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Archaeological Resources in Fredericksburg, VA


Understanding the value of our buried history

A new and interactive story map entitled Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Archaeological Resources in Fredericksburg, Virginia has been launched by the City of Fredericksburg. It is a resource for those seeking to understand the value of our buried history and the City’s plan to protect these finite historic resources. Located online at, this interactive GIS-based tool illustrates the efforts of the City’s archaeology working group, a selection of archaeological sites, and the results of a citywide archaeological assessment in a dynamic and user-friendly format.

“The story map is one tool in a comprehensive public engagement process that begins now and will continue through this year,” says Kate Schwartz, Historic Resources Planner for the City. “The story map is intended to be a resource for the public, both as we work to adopt and implement a city archaeology ordinance, and on a permanent ongoing basis to share with our community our archaeological resources.”

Fredericksburg’s City Council envisions Fredericksburg as “a proven leader in historic preservation” and plans to achieve this through the continued preservation of significant historic properties, the promotion of compatible reuse and development, and an enhanced focus on archaeological resources. “An archaeological ordinance would provide the necessary guidance to support new and reuse development while preserving our valuable and unique history,” said Fredericksburg City Councilman Matt Kelly.

“Communicating new government policies and priorities to our community is always a challenge,” said Chuck Johnston, Director of Planning & Building Development. “The City’s archaeology working group collaborated with staff to develop an interactive resource that highlights our efforts to protect and celebrate Fredericksburg’s incredible array of archaeological resources.”

Developing a city-wide archaeological ordinance began in January 2017 when the City’s archaeology working group began meeting. This group of experts, including individuals from the National Park Service, the Fredericksburg Area Museum, the University of Mary Washington, Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, Inc., local development groups, and cultural resource firms, has overseen a citywide archaeological assessment and identified recommended policies and procedures. Their work, along with case studies and proposed next steps are all for public viewing on the new story map. Those viewing the story map may be interested to read case studies of previous archaeological investigations along Fall Hill Avenue, in Market Square, at the Marriott site, Riverfront Park site, and more. Each of these digs helped fill in portions of Fredericksburg’s history that were previously unknown. Visitors will also see the new Predictive Model, which shows the areas of the city most likely to be rich in archaeological resources from the prehistoric period to the more recent past. The public is encouraged to interact with our new story map and find more information about the proposed archaeological district, ordinance, and public education programs by visiting this link to the story map or contacting the Department of Planning and Building Services at (540) 372-1179.

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