35 bottles filled with cherries from the 18th century found at Mount Vernon

Thirty-five glass bottles filled with cherries and berries were found at Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington.

Archaeologists at Washington’s Virginia home found the bottles from the 18th century in storage pits in a cellar.

Of the 35 bottles discovered, 29 are intact and contain perfectly preserved cherries and berries like gooseberries or currants, according to a news release from George Washington’s Mount Vernon on Thursday.

The contents of each bottle have been “carefully extracted” and are being refrigerated on site to undergo scientific analysis.

Earlier this year, two intact, European-manufactured 18th-century glass bottles containing liquid, cherries and pits were discovered.

The discoveries are part of the $40 million Mansion Revitalization Project at Mount Vernon.

“Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine this spectacular archaeological discovery,” Mount Vernon President and CEO Doug Bradburn said in a statement. “To our knowledge, this is an unprecedented find and nothing of this scale and significance has ever been excavated in North America.”

Bradburn said the organization is crossing its fingers that the cherry pits found inside the bottles will be viable for future germination and planting.

“It’s so appropriate that these bottles have been unearthed shortly before the 250th anniversary of the United States,” he said. The United States’s 250th birthday will be in 2026.

Bradburn said the bottles haven’t seen the light of day since before the American Revolution and may have been forgotten when George Washington left to take command of the Continental Army.

Mount Vernon principal archaeologist Jason Boroughs said the discovery will allow for more information about the 18th century, plantation foodways and the origins of American cuisine.

“The bottles and contents are a testament to the knowledge and skill of the enslaved people who managed the food preparations from tree to table,” he said.

So far, scientists have found 54 cherry pits and 23 stems. The cherries may have been harvested by snipping them from trees using shears since the stems were neatly cut.

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