Mapping Georgetown: digging into this community

“I was born at Georgetown University,” wrote Christine Ames, in her tale Mapping Georgetown. “History update,” she told us, “I’m now an archaeologist, helping to preserve DC’s history! Few of our storytellers have probed as deeply into Georgetown’s past as Ames who is assistant city archaeologist for the District of Columbia.

In his story, Ames recounts searching for the remains of Yarrow Mamout (1736-1823), Georgetown’s most notable once-enslaved African in the nation’s ancient history. According to a Dec. 3, 2020, article in The Georgetowner, Yarrow was a “learned West African Muslim” who “owned a home at 3324 Dent Place — a stop on the district’s African American Heritage Trail — next door. from the most recent burial site excavation at 3317 Q St. NW. A slave for 44 years, Yarrow finally bought his freedom and became a successful financier” in Georgetown. Searches for Yarrow’s remains have been conducted in various settings in Georgetown with no confirmation yet determined.

Excerpt from the story Mapping Georgetown by Christine Ames. Courtesy of Mapping Georgetown.

Here is Ames’ story:

Mapping the History of Georgetown by Christine Ames:

Hello Mapping Georgetown! I am Christine Ames, a licensed professional archaeologist currently employed by the DC Historic Preservation Office. As a member of the HPO Archeology team, I help conduct project reviews, outreach activities, and nurture the district’s archaeological collections for future generations. I am a proud resident of the district and am fortunate to help preserve the city’s history and tell the stories of those who have come before us through material culture.

This included the 2015 Yarrow Mamout Community Archeology Project, in Georgetown. Although no resources definitively associated with Mamout have been identified, there were artifacts related to the later occupation of the lot that reflect the later residents and their households. One type of artifact that was identified quite often was marbles. Marbles may indicate the presence of children, a difficult group to capture in archaeological records. Finding these scattered floors in the yard can perhaps paint a picture that people can still relate to today.

Although the project has since ended, we still maintain the Yarrow Mamout Facebook page and post related content as well as the DC Archeology page. Follow us!

Thank you, Christine, for your touching story. It inspires, encourages and makes worthy causes.

Assistant City Archaeologist Christine Ames records data in the basement of a Q Street home. Photo by Georgetowner.

To learn more about the Georgetown Mapping Project, see

To submit your Georgetown memories to Mapping Georgetown, go to or visit the Georgetown Public Library to pick up a physical map history form to fill out.

Marilyn Butler can be contacted at: [email protected]

KeywordsarcheologyChristine AmesDC Historic Preservation OfficeDig Georgetownmapping georgetownYarrow Mamout

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