Digging Up a Hero

Published:July 3, 2008 by Brendan Wolfe

This morning’s Washington Post reports that archaeologists have found the likely site of George Washington’s childhood home near Fredericksburg. They’ve also uncovered marbles, wig curlers, utensils, dinnerware, and a pipe with a Masonic crest on it. “What’s so great about this dig is that when people talk about Washington, they always talk about his adult life,” David Muraca told the Post. He’s the director of archeology for the George Washington Foundation. “So this will expand the knowledge about his early years.”

And those years are shrouded in “I cannot tell a lie”–style myths, so score one for history.

Or not.

“This now gives us one more part of the story to tell,” Virginia governor Timothy Kaine said, responding to the discovery. “We are a nation now where people want to have heroes.” He then announced that all of this will probably be great for tourism.

I know that’s the governor’s job and all, to wax positive and encourage folks to spend money, but still. Marbles, wig curlers, and knives and forks a hero do not make. They make history, and real men. In the end, though, who really cares about that?