"The task of making improvements on the earth:" Perspectives on plantation landscape archaeology.

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  • Documents (8)

  • Digging in the Wilderness: Uncovering George Washington’s Formal Mount Vernon Landscape. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Leah Stricker. Luke J. Pecoraro.

    In January of 1785, George Washington began work to create a western vista that would be visible from his home based on European landscape design principles. This process included developing and redesigning the grounds around the mansion into a single system, reshaping the upper and lower gardens, laying out a bowling green, planting shrubberies and wildernesses, and planning walks around and through these elements. Archaeological investigations in the spring of 2014 focused on the north...

  • Drayton Hall Reimagined: New Perspectives on the Commercial, Ornamental and Intellectual Landscapes of John Drayton (c.1715-1779) (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Carter C. Hudgins.

    Recent research has exposed how Drayton Hall (c.1738) was conceived by wealthy planter John Drayton to operate as a gentleman’s suburban estate at the center of his vast network of commercial plantations that stretched across South Carolina and Georgia.  Drawing from extant architecture, archaeological evidence, landscape features and surviving documentary records, this study will further our knowledge of one of South Carolina’s greatest plantation networks by examining the social, economic and...

  • Evaluating the Chronology of the Joiner’s Shop in a Changing Monticello Landscape (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Beatrix Arendt. Devin Floyd. Crystal L. Ptacek.

    The Joiner’s Shop at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello was the structure in which highly-skilled free and enslaved craftsmen manufactured decorative woodwork and furniture for Jefferson’s mansion during the late-18th and early-19th centuries.  While the Joiner’s Shop is the largest structure on Mulberry Row, the center of work and domestic life at the Plantation, little is known regarding its construction history, whether the space was divided based on work and domestic activities, or how the...

  • Fitting Overseers Into The Plantation Picture: Spatial Analysis At The Oval Site (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Douglas W. Sanford. Andrew P. Wilkins.

    Studies of plantation landscapes often focus either on the siting of mansions, quarters, and other structures across the plantation at a large scale by the owner, or attempts by the enslaved to exert control over the small-scale spaces of their own houses and yards.  This paper adds to the consideration of how examining and comparing small-scale landscapes can contribute to a discussion of the creation and negotiation of intermingled racial and class-based boundaries within plantation contexts. ...

  • Hallowed Ground, Sacred Space: The African-American Cemetery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the Plantation Landscapes of the Enslaved. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Joseph A. Downer.

    The cemeteries used by slaves on many plantations in the 18th and 19th centuries were places where communities could practice forms of resistance and develop distinct African-American traditions. These spaces often went unrecorded by elites, whose constructed landscapes were designed to convey messages of their own status and authority. Therefore, few records exist that document the usage of slave burial grounds. Furthermore, poor preservation and modern development have obliterated many...

  • Mulberry Row and the Monticello Mountaintop Landscape: New Insights from Archaeological Chronologies (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Crystal L. Ptacek. Katelyn Coughlan. Beatrix Arendt. L. Kathryn Martin.

    Mulberry Row was once a bustling street of activity where enslaved and free workers labored and lived adjacent to Monticello mansion. This paper outlines new insights into change in slave lifeways and the adjacent landscape, derived from a recently excavated one hundred fifty foot long trench extending across Mulberry Row. We describe new, fine-grained stratigraphic and seriation chronologies that incorporate both continuous layers and discrete features, including a borrow pit and cobble paving....

  • Rediscovering the Landscapes of Wingos and Indian Camp: An Archaeological Perspective (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Barbara Heath.

    This paper discusses methodologies for tracing the development of domestic and work spaces associated with enslaved people at Poplar Forest and Indian Camp, two plantations located in the Virginia piedmont. The rediscovery of these ephemeral landscapes has been accomplished through a multilayered approach to diverse types of evidence including soil chemistry, artifact distributions, ethnobotanical remains, features, remote sensing and the documentary record. Together, these sources reveal...

  • Roads and Landscape Dynamics on Monticello's Mountaintop (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Derek Wheeler. Craig Kelley.

    Between 1770 and his death in 1826, Thomas Jefferson expended vast resources building and altering Monticello mansion and the surrounding landscape. Roads and paths were integral parts of the resulting system, which was engineered to manage the movement of family members, elite visitors, and free and enslaved workers. This paper offers new insights from archaeological research into the shifting configuration of elite and service access routes to the house and the artificial landscape that they...