Educational Programs & Resources


At Poplar Forest, we are excited to offer internship opportunities to students year round. These include a paid summer research internship in historical archaeology, as well as unpaid semester-long internships in archaeology and landscape restoration.

Summer research internship in historical archaeology

The Department of Archaeology and Landscapes at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest is offering one funded research position for May 31 through July 22, 2022.  This internship is intended for early-phase graduate students and advanced undergraduates who have previous field training and are looking for more experience conducting fieldwork and supervising field school students in a research-oriented setting.

Poplar Forest is the former retreat home and working plantation of Thomas Jefferson, and is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Lynchburg, Virginia.  Over the past 30 years, archaeologists have uncovered evidence of Jefferson’s time on the property and the lives of the enslaved community who lived and labored on the plantation during the 18th and 19th centuries.

This year’s fieldwork will focus on archaeological sites associated with Poplar Forest’s enslaved residents as we attempt to better understand their lives by looking at the places where they lived and worked.  Sites that will be investigated will include searching for the location of a slave quarter, stable, and other structures associated with Jefferson’s retreat home and plantation.  The successful applicant will work alongside the Poplar Forest staff to assist in all phases of field excavation, including working with and teaching field school students during the six week field school starting June 6.  This will involve strenuous outdoor labor in the hot Virginia sun, so good physical health is a must.  In addition, the intern will need to be comfortable interacting with the public and explaining the archaeological process to site visitors.  While in residence, the successful applicant will also be granted access to the collections and research facilities of Poplar Forest.  This includes a collection of nearly a half million artifacts; a database system containing both archaeological artifact and context records; and a complete inventory containing over 3,000 historical documents relating to Poplar Forest.  By partnering with the Poplar Forest staff, these collections may then be drawn upon to support the student’s own research.  The intern will also have the opportunity to work alongside Poplar Forest archaeologists to help write a report on the summer’s findings.

A stipend of $2,500 will be provided for the eight week internship, which will be held in conjunction with the field school.  The intern will be responsible for making their own housing arrangements as well as providing for their own meals and transportation.  Information regarding housing options will be made available through the Poplar Forest archaeology staff.  Successful applicants should have at least one field school, and more field experience is a definite plus.  Knowledge of historical material culture is required.


By April 22, 2022, email the following to Dr. Eric Proebsting, Director of Archaeology and Landscapes:

  • Personal information: Include your full name, home address, telephone number, and email address.
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • A detailed one-page statement of personal and professional reasons for participating.
  • One letter of recommendation addressing the following: 1) your academic and professional ability and performance and 2) your personality and ability to work well with others. Please request for the author of this letter to send it directly to Eric Proebsting via email ( to maintain confidentiality.

Selections will be made by the Poplar Forest Archaeology Department by April 26, 2022.

For more information on Poplar Forest’s ongoing archaeological research visit:  Any questions can be directed to Eric Proebsting at or 434-534-8102.