ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A ship dating back to the Revolutionary War found in Old Town Alexandria in Virginia has been drawing worldwide attention after it was found at a construction site for a new hotel.
Now, archaeologists are working to search through this new discovery for artifacts, which are providing clues to help solve the mystery of how it wound up here.
On Alexandria’s waterfront, archaeologist John Mullen is making history.
"I'm amazed that the story of finding this particular ship has gone international,” he said.
This Revolutionary War-era ship found at this construction site is 50 feet long, 200 years old and the subject a million questions.
"It tells a story of the history of the founding of Alexandria,” said Mullen.
Workers from Wetland Thunderbird Archaeology are slowly sifting and brushing every inch of the vessel.
"We've removed all of the timbers, frames -- piece by piece carefully,” said Mullen.
Our camera even captured one worker digging out a Colonial era pipe completely intact -- a rare find.
"We usually find things broken up into lots of pieces,” said Mullen. “We find pipe stems all the time, but finding an intact one is pretty unique.”
Finding this ship was only the start. Experts say what they have found inside is an archaeological treasure trove. Next to the ship, a warehouse and an outhouse were found with even more artifacts.
Mullen said they have found a lot of shoes, tea cup fragments and a fragment from what could be a chamber pot.
Also, very small pieces of coral are providing very big clues about where the ship sailed.
“It tells us that the ship where this came from probably sailed down to the Caribbean,” said Mullen.
In fact, after 200 years, this ship will be heading back to water to a preservation tank as Mullen and his crew continue their journey to study it.
"This is great, this is why we all do this for -- finding old stuff like this ship,” Mullen said.
On Friday, archaeologists will be back to conduct a 3D laser scan of the ship. They were able to remove most of the cross timbers onto a flatbed, but the bulkhead may take longer.
They are finding many more items than they expected, and they will have to sift through all of it before they can remove the hull from the site.