A Unique Learning Experience at Thomas Jefferson’s Retreat
Field School Dates: June 2 – July 11, 2014
Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest and the University of Virginia are pleased to offer the Twenty-Sixth Annual Summer Field School in Historical Archaeology. The field school provides a foundation in current methods and theories of historical archaeology, and offers a solid introduction to the practical skills of site survey, excavation, recording, and laboratory procedures. Students will actively participate in our ongoing interpretation of archaeology to the public. In the summer of 2014, field school participants will excavate inside and around the circular carriage turnaround at the front of the house. The excavations will be designed to better understand how this landscape feature was configured, used, and changed over time. The center of the turnaround was filled in with debris from the 1845 house fire and contains numerous artifacts that help us better understand Jefferson’s retreat house.
What Would I Do at the Poplar Forest Field School?
Students will spend 40 hours a week at Poplar Forest, with most of the time split between the excavation site and the archaeology laboratory. Strenuous daily activity will require physical endurance and good health. Participants will have the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art equipment and software, including a total station for recording field information, GPS receivers for collecting spatial data over large areas, a database system containing both the archaeological artifact and context records, and a complete inventory of over 1,000 historical documents relating to Poplar Forest.
Week 1 Orientation to Poplar Forest, instruction, initial excavation, discussion of readings, field trip
Week 2 Field and lab work at Poplar Forest, guest lecture, discussion of readings
Week 3 FIeld and lab work at Poplar Forest, overnight field trip, discussion of readings
Week 4 Field and lab work at Poplar Forest, guest lecture, discussion of readings
Week 5 Field and lab work at Poplar Forest, discussion of readings
Week 6 Conclusion of field work, field trip, summation of activities
The program includes weekly readings on topics in historical archaeology; lectures by staff and noted authorities covering such topics as landscape history, plantation life, nineteenth-century material culture; professional opportunities in historical archaeology; and the role of public archaeology. As part of the program, students will also participate in a half-day workshop on architectural restoration and preservation philosophy. On-site work is supplemented by field trips to sites where historical archaeology is underway. Students will be asked to observe and evaluate strategies used by these sites to incorporate archaeology into their public interpretation.
What if I’ve Never Studied Archaeology or Been on a "Dig"?
The Poplar Forest Field School is designed for the beginner. While some will bring previous experience, for most participants, this will be their first archaeological field school.
Who Should Attend?
Graduate and undergraduate students in anthropology, archaeology, history, or historic preservation; museum volunteers and staff; public and private school teachers in social studies and related subjects; individuals interested in pursuing archaeology as a career; individuals interested in archaeology, history, and early American Southern culture; students of Jefferson, African-American, and early American history. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have finished high school.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: APRIL 11, 2014
- Personal Information: Include your full name (with Mr., Ms., Mrs.), home address, home and work/school telephone numbers, occupation, and email address.
- A one page résumé – include name, address and phone number of three references that can speak to academic experience and ability to work with others.
- A one-page statement of personal and professional reasons for participating.
This field school in historical archaeology carries six graduate credits from the University of Virginia. Students can usually transfer these hours toward a graduate or undergraduate degree program. To verify transferability, participants should check with their degree-granting institution prior to taking for cradit. All students are required to keep a journal documenting field and lab experiences. Other assignments will also be required.
Tuition & Scholarship Assistance
All participants accepted into the field school will receive a scholarship from Poplar Forest. This is a tuition grant that covers half of the tuition charge for six graduate credit hours. With this scholarship assistance, Virginia residents will pay $1,140 and out-of-state residents will pay $2,364. There is a $108 technology fee for students taking the course for credit.
Accommodations are available at Lynchburg College. Estimated cost is $35 per day. Students are responsible for their own meals and transportation to the site each day. Students are free to make other housing arrangements as well.
If your attendance requires any aids or services as addressed in the Americans with Disabilities Act, please inform us at least two weeks prior to the course. Call the University of Virginia School of Continuing and Professional Studies at (434) 982-5294.
Poplar Forest Archaeology Instructors
Jack Gary, Director of Archaeology and Landscapes
Mr. Gary’s research interests include plantation landscapes, the material culture of slavery, environmental investigations of historic landscapes, and the applications of GIS to historical archaeology.
Eric Proebsting, Ph.D., Senior Research Archaeologist
Dr. Proebsting’s research interests include nineteenth-century North America, landscape archaeology, environmental archaeology, and historical ecology.
Jennifer Ogborne, Ph.D., Laboratory Supervisor
Dr. Ogborne's research interests include foodways, labor relations, industrial archaeology, historical ecology, zooarchaeology, and topics related to Virginia plantations and nineteenth-century material culture.