Dozens of bottles of cherries found by archeologists at the home of the United States’ first president

The historic discovery comes during a $40 million Mansion Revitalization Project meant to strengthen and restore the home ahead of America’s 250th birthday in 2026. George Washington lived at Mount Vernon from 1754 until his death in 1799.

MOUNT VERNON, Va. - Archaeologists at George Washington’s Mount Vernon home have unearthed artifacts that have been deemed "spectacular" with experts now in possession of dozens of bottles of perfectly preserved fruit that are thought to be around 250 years old.

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, owners of George Washington’s home since 1860, said 37 bottles of cherries and berries have been found in storage pits in the cellar of the estate, with efforts underway that might result in additional discoveries.

The excavation, part of the estate’s ongoing $40 million Mansion Revitalization Project, aims to preserve such historical items and enhance the estate’s structural and environmental conditions.

"Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine this spectacular archaeological discovery," Doug Bradburn, Mount Vernon president & CEO, said in a statement.

Historians believe the bottles may date back to around 1775 when Washington departed Virginia to take command of the Continental Army during escalating tensions with the British.


The association says the bottles have now been carefully removed and are now in refrigerated storage at the estate.

"We now possess a bounty of artifacts and matter to analyze that may provide a powerful glimpse into the origins of our nation, and we are crossing our fingers that the cherry pits discovered will be viable for future germination," Bradburn stated.

The cherries are said to be in such a preserved state that DNA extraction will help determine their precise species, and pits are being studied for their potential for future germination.

"These perfectly preserved fruits picked and prepared more than 250 years ago provide an incredibly rare opportunity to contribute to our knowledge of the 18th-century environment, 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," Jason Boroughs, an archaeologist at Mount Vernon, stated.

The discovery coincides with preparations for America’s 250th anniversary, marking the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress.


Extensive planning is underway to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the country’s independence on July 4, 2026.

To find out about events that the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission has planned, visit: