Archaeology Magazine

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19th-Century Cistern Excavated at the University of Virginia

Thursday, March 27, 2014

(Patrickneil)CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA—A cistern near the Rotunda at the University of Virginia may have been a source of water for fighting fires in the nineteenth century, according to archaeologist Steve Thompson. He and his team have removed some four tons of earth to reach the bottom of the cistern, which would have held 75,000 gallons of water collected from the Rotunda’s roof gutters. “The structure itself is of interest because it informs us about the water supply here at UVA through the entire nineteenth century. Getting water to the university was an enormous and continual problem,” he told NBC 29