Volume 24, Number 11 November 16, 2016

WSSI Archeologist Earns Brenman Award for Hotel Indigo Work

WSSI’s John Mullen (left) received the Brenman Award along with Michael Wilson (middle) and Dr. George Schwarz (right) 

John Mullen, Principal Archeologist for Thunderbird Archeology, a division of Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc.(WSSI), was given the 2016 Outstanding Professional Archeologist award – the Ben Brenman Award – by the City of Alexandria on October 5, 2016.  John was recognized for his “high standards of archaeological investigation and historical study at the Hotel Indigo site, providing new insights into the founding and development of Alexandria’s 18th-century waterfront.” Alexandria’s Mayor and City Council presented the award to John along with Dr. George Schwarz of the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Underwater Archeology Branch and Michael Wilson of Carr City Centers, the project owner and developer.

The Hotel Indigo site garnered international attention in winter 2015-2016 after WSSI’s crews uncovered the remnants of a colonial-era ship buried deep in the site. In Fall 2015, WSSI archeologists discovered the oldest known structural remains in Alexandria: a 1755 public warehouse. The site also was home to privies, house foundations, a well, and factory and warehouse foundations.

You can read more about the Hotel Indigo site in our January 2016 Field Notes and on our website, where we have photos and a link to the NBC Nightly News coverage. 

The Bernard “Ben” Brenman Award recognizes “partners who have given significant contributions toward Alexandria’s community archaeology.” It was named for a founder of the Alexandria Archeological Commission who served as its chairman for 21 years.  Boyd Sipe, Manager of WSSI’s Thunderbird Archeology, was honored with this award in 2013 for his work at the Contraband and Freedmen’s Cemetery Memorial.

To learn more about the Hotel Indigo project, the award, or how WSSI’s archeologists can help with your next project, please contact John Mullen or Boyd Sipe.

Check out past issues in the Field Notes Archive.


  • Boyd Sipe

    Gainesville, VA

  • John Mullen

    Gainesville, VA