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The Archaeology of Irish Railroad Laborers in Mid-Nineteenth Century Virginia: Findings from the First Field Season

Author(s): Amanda B. Johnson ; Stephen A. Brighton

Year: 2013

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Summary

In 1850 the landscape 15 miles west of Charlottesville was dramatically altered as thousands of Irish immigrants were brought to the area to construct the Blue Ridge Railroad. The dangerous work consisted of several cuts and tunnels. One of the more difficult projects was the Blue Ridge or Afton tunnel. At its completion it stretched just under a mile and at the time was one of the longest tunnels in American history. During the summer of 2012, the excavations focused on standing dry-laid stone cabins located below the tracks on the property of the present-day Pollak Winery. The cabins were inhabited by Irish immigrants between 1850 and 1858. The aim our paper is to detail the historical and archeological findings providing an intimate glimpse into the daily lives and experiences of the Irish laborers and their families.  


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Cite this Record

The Archaeology of Irish Railroad Laborers in Mid-Nineteenth Century Virginia: Findings from the First Field Season. Amanda B. Johnson, Stephen A. Brighton. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428205)


Keywords

Temporal Keywords
19th Century


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 334

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America