By Carla Branch
The Alexandria City Council on Wednesday night presented John Mullen, Dr. George Schwarz and Michael Wilson 2016 Ben Brenman Archaeology in Alexandria Awards for their work on the Carr Hotel Indigo project site at 220 Union Street.
The 2016 Brenman Awards are inspired by decades of work and collaboration that have gone into planning for the redevelopment and revitalization of the City’s waterfront, now coming to fruition in the waterfront implementation plan that will eventually unify the river’s edge into one continuous corridor enriched by art and historical interpretation, much of which draws from archaeological discoveries. The Hotel Indigo development project is the first major archaeological investigation undertaken as part of the current waterfront redevelopment initiative in compliance with the Archaeological Protection Code. Archeologists discovered the location of Alexandria’s 1749 shoreline, trash-filled privies that provide evidence of the daily life of the City’s past residents, a bulkhead built for filling the shallow cove on which Alexandria was founded, the stone and wood foundation of an 18th-century warehouse constructed as one of the first public works projects in the City, and the timbers of a portion of the hull of an 18th-century ship about to undergo conservation for future exhibition and interpretation on the waterfront.
Mullen is the Principal Archaeologist and Assistant Manager at Thunderbird Archaeology, a division of Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. He received the 2016 Brenman Award for Outstanding Professional Archaeologist for his high standards of archaeological investigation and historical study at the Hotel Indigo site for providing new insights into the founding and development of Alexandria’s 18th -century waterfront, and for his exceptional commitment to communicating these incredible discoveries to multiple audiences.
Schwarz is with the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Underwater Archaeology Branch. He received the 2016 Brenman Award for Outstanding Maritime Archaeologist for volunteering to provide expertise and guidance in the documentation, excavation, and preliminary stabilization of the oldest ship discovered to date in Alexandria, and for sharing his knowledge about maritime history and the construction and use of the vessel, thereby helping to make possible the eventual exhibition of this rare artifact for future generations to study and appreciate.
Wilson, is the Senior Vice President for Construction, Carr City Centers, the developer of the Hotel Indigo. He received a 2016 Brenman Award for Outstanding Developer for the company’s commitment to the highest quality archaeological preservation at the Hotel Indigo development project, and for supporting and funding the documentation and recovery of significant artifacts, features, and information that will enrich the lives of Alexandria’s residents and visitors by promoting an understanding of the past.
The Alexandria Archaeological Commission named the Brenman Award in honor of Colonel Bernard “Ben” Brenman, USA Retired, who founded the Commission and served as its chairman for 21 years. He envisioned a community archaeology program for Alexandria in which sites across the entire city representing all people and historic periods would be valued by everyone living in and visiting Alexandria. He also believed that a community working together in a partnership of residents, developers, archaeologists, volunteers and students could successfully “save, study, and share” Alexandria’s heritage. Each year, the Commission, through the Ben Brenman Archaeology in Alexandria Award recognizes partners who have given significant contributions toward Alexandria’s community archaeology; and acknowledges high quality work, innovation, commitment or extraordinary efforts in preservation, research, protection, enhancement, creation of historic parks and open spaces, documentation, education, public appreciation and advocacy for