Exploring Historic Warwicktowne

From about 1680 to 1813, the Riverview Farm Park was the location of Warwicktowne—the county seat of Warwick County (now Newport News). While no historic maps of the town are known to have survived and no buildings related to the town still stand, historic documents and the archaeological record can provide information about the town and what daily life was like for its residents. Archaeological excavations may uncover building foundations, cellars, street remnants, trash pits, and artifacts that were dropped or cast away. This research will enhance our understanding of colonial Virginia port towns during the late seventeenth through early nineteenth centuries.

The archaeological exploration of the town will include the following efforts:

  • Review of previous archaeology at the site and at other similar sites;
  • Historical research;
  • Monitoring of foundation removal during demolition of existing buildings in order to identify and protect important remains that are uncovered;
  • Ground Penetrating Radar to identify possible cellars, foundations, wells, privies, road networks, and other features prior to excavation;
  • Archaeological excavations will focus on areas of the site that appear to have the greatest potential to yield interesting remains associated with the town; and
  • A report of findings.

During the excavations, an archaeologist will be available to lead site tours and answer questions about what is being found. Examples of interesting artifacts will be displayed throughout the day, and our project Facebook page will provide updates on interesting finds and new information. A public presentation of findings is planned for later this year. A copy of the final archaeological report is available here.

Footer image from John W. Reps’ Tidewater Towns: City Planning in Colonial Virginia and Maryland, published 1972 by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.