Ice House? or Giant Compost Bin?

Barn with stone structure to the right

The hot (or cold) question of the day…was the stone structure to the right of the brick bank barn an ice house, a composting building, or something else entirely?  Yesterday, Rivanna Archaeological Services dug deeper along the foundation wall for both the brick barn and the stone structure.  The foundations look like they were built at the same time, and one stone below where they had dug when I looked yesterday, the foundations mesh together.  More importantly, there is no evidence of a “builder’s trench” along the foundation for either structure which would indicate that one foundation was laid later than the other. 

The question still remains:  What was the stone structure used for?  If it was an ice house, where did the ice come from?  And why would an ice house be so far from the house?  We may not get to answer that question, but it sure is fun to try.


About oatlandsva

Director of Development at Oatlands, a National Trust Historic Site.
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