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Lectures and Talks

AIA-Toledo Society Online Lecture - Dr. Christopher Dostal, “A City Built on Ships: Reconstructing the 18th-Century Ships Excavated From the Waterfront of Alexandria, VA”

Friday, Apr. 16, 2021 • 7:00 pm
Adults, Members, Seniors

Between 2015-2018, construction crews excavating along the Alexandria, VA waterfront revealed the broken remains of four 18th-century wooden ships in what was once the shoreline of the Potomac River. The identity of these ships is unknown, but to study them, each ship was disarticulated and the individual timbers were laser scanned, allowing researchers to virtually reassemble the ships and develop theoretical reconstructions of how they would have looked when they were in use. These highly accurate digital timber models were also 3D printed and assembled by a master ship model maker, further informing these reconstructions. One of the four ships, excavated during the construction of the Indigo hotel, was sent to the Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University for conservation by freeze drying, a process that is currently underway. This lecture will summarize this project, give an overview of the techniques used, and present our latest findings about the ships. This lecture is presented by the Archaeological Institute of America—Toledo Society, Toledo Museum of Art, and the University of Toledo.

All lectures are illustrated, non-technical, and free and open to the public. They will be offered online live using Cisco Webex webinar software provided through the University of Toledo. Prior to each lecture a web link will be posted on the Toledo Society’s website ( and to view a lecture it is only necessary to click on this link. Lectures will be viewable on all devices, including smart phones, tablets, and laptop and desktop computers. Viewers will have an opportunity to ask the speaker questions after the presentation.