Archaeology Book Talk and Signing
June 30, 2012
Authors to speak on the new book just published
on the archaeological discoveries at Jefferson’s retreat
The first book showcasing the wide range of the archaeological detective-work that is revealing Jefferson’s retreat has just been published by the University Press of Florida. On Saturday, June 30tht Poplar Forest celebrates the debut of Jefferson’s Poplar Forest: Unearthing a Virginia Plantation with a special event: illustrated presentations by four of the authors about their discoveries, followed by a book-signing.
Four speakers will give talks on “Unearthing a Virginia Plantation” on June 30th at 2 p.m. at Poplar Forest. Poplar Forest’s Director of Archaeology and Landscapes, Jack Gary, and his predecessor Barbara Heath (now Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Tennessee), will join Laboratory chief Lori Lee and the head of field excavations at Poplar Forest, Eric Proebsting, for this special event celebrating the debut of this milestone publication. From the plantation house to the weeds in the garden, these four experts will share their exploration of the landscapes of the Poplar Forest plantation retreat, investigating the relationships among people, objects and places that made up the world that archaeology has been uncovering for the first time at Thomas Jefferson’s most private place.
Hailing it as a “highly readable volume,” Lu Ann De Cunzo, University of Delaware Professor of Anthropology, says that Unearthing a Virginia Plantation “presents a remarkably multidimensional portrait of the estate as a personal retreat, a designed landscape, a plantation, and a home and workplace for enslaved African American families.”
“This volume of essays by a leading group of archaeological scholars examines Jefferson’s Poplar Forest from its most minute details to its global significance…” says Boston University’s Mary Beaudry, Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Jack Gary will speak on the ways Jefferson’s vision for the masterful landscape and architecture he designed as his ideal personal space can be seen in the ceramics he chose for the dinner table at his retreat home. Eric Proebsting will focus on how the landscape changed as plantation agriculture transformed Central Virginia—looking at changes in plants, animals, crops and settlement patterns up to the Civil War. Lori Lee and Barbara Heath will focus on the African Americans who comprised the year-round community of Poplar Forest. Ms. Lee will speak on the insight that Poplar Forest’s archaeology has revealed about the slaves as consumers, looking at the things that the enslaved people bought and made themselves. Dr. Heath will share what has been learned about the formation of families and communities amongst the enslaved residents, and how we have gained insight through the archaeological evidence at the slave house sites discovered so far.
Admission: The June 30th presentations and book signing are free with regular admission to Poplar Forest.
Advance reservations are recommended.