Jul 16, 2018

Field School Week 6

By Eric Taylor and Alice Keith The sixth and final week of the 2018 Archaeology Field School at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest has drawn to a close. It was an amazing week for the students, intern, and staff working on the North and South Tenant House sites. We finished excavating builder’s trenches, took final elevations, […]


Jul 9, 2018

Field School Week 4

by Mat Parsons In the fourth week of the Poplar Forest Field school we once again returned to Monticello for a lesson in dendrochronology. We started the morning with a classroom instruction on how plantation landscapes change through time when left in fallow through woodland reclamation and the applications of dendrochronology. We then headed into […]


Jun 25, 2018

Field School Week 3

By Keilah and Kennis We started out the 3rd week at field school by visiting Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Whereas Poplar Forest represents Jefferson’s design interests as a private individual, his plantation house outside of Charlottesville demonstrates his affluence and responsibilities as a public figure. After attending a palynology lecture on site, our field school was […]


Jun 20, 2018

Field School Week 2

by Alaina Foster These past weeks at Poplar Forest have been exciting ones!  The field school students were introduced to archaeological field methods and excavation techniques for digging this fun Piedmont clay. First things first, teach them how to dig!


Jun 8, 2018

Archaeology Field School 2018 Week 1

The archaeology department began its 2018 field school this past Monday, welcoming six students and a summer research intern to the museum. Our project this summer focuses on the South Tenant House, a structure built in mid nineteenth century during the Hutter family’s ownership of the Poplar Forest plantation.   The brick South Tenant House […]


Nov 4, 2017

“Take heede when ye wash”: Laundry at Poplar Forest

Karen E. McIlvoy Who does the laundry in your house? Do you have a machine? According to the most recent statistics, almost 78% of laundry in the US is done by female household members. Today’s modern conveniences allow a single load of laundry to be completely cleaned and dried in about 90 minutes, but laundry […]


Jul 27, 2017

Archaeology Field School Week VI

By Iris Puryear This week we wrapped up field work at the Braxton site and processed the final artifacts and data collected in the lab. A final unit, opened to the west of our primary focus at the site, offered some surprising evidence of eighteenth-century human activity in a location we had previously supposed had […]


Jul 18, 2017

Archaeology Field School Week 5

by Georgia Delamar Public archaeology was the topic this week for field school students at Poplar Forest. The students were able to gain first hand experience in public archaeology during the Independence Day Celebration. Visitors stopped by the Braxton archaeological site to ask questions and watch the students dig. Children seemed most interested in screening […]


Jul 12, 2017

Archaeological Field School Week 4

This week’s lessons focused on the landscape of Poplar Forest Field. Field school students had lectures and readings on various topics related to understanding and interpreting Thomas Jefferson’s retreat home grounds. Among these topics were pollen analysis, animal remains, and soil chemistry- all helpful in understanding the agricultural aspect of this property. Also discussed was […]


Jul 5, 2017

Archaeological Field School Week 3

By Katie Harris This week’s lectures and field work have revolved around the ways archaeology can fill the holes in our knowledge regarding the culture and personal lives of those enslaved in America. Thomas Jefferson’s views on slavery and his treatment of his own slaves have been well studied. But what was life like from […]


Jun 23, 2017

Archaeological Field School Week 2

By Savannah Weaver This week’s topic for the Field School students at Poplar Forest was material culture. Material culture deals with artifacts, landscapes, buildings, and even words, all of which have been shaped by humans as forms of expression. Artifacts tell us which items were commonly used in a specific time period, how they were […]


Jun 20, 2017

Field School 2017 Week One

By Adam Macbeth 2017 Summer Research Intern   Poplar Forest’s 2017 field school began on a rainy June 5th. The students spent the first day receiving a tour of the retreat house and lectures on proper field technique. Excavations began early on Tuesday morning with students eager to break ground.   The aim of this […]