Seeing the Past through the Soil and Trees of Poplar Forest

Author(s): Eric Proebsting; Daniel Druckenbrod

Year: 2016


This paper includes recent discoveries from a survey of natural and cultural resources along a proposed 1.7 mile parkway at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest.  In addition to locating archaeological sites and mapping aboveground features, 10 forest plots were established within stands of increasing age adjacent to the proposed path of the parkway.  By measuring tree diameter, identifying tree species, and coring trees from three different positions in the forest canopy using dendrochronology, these plots are providing important new interpretations about how the present day landscape relates to past agricultural activities and processes of succession, which have taken place on this former tobacco plantation over the past 250 years.  Additional insights are gained by examining these plots in light of historic maps and documents as well as archaeological remains, including charcoal fragments recovered from the plantation’s slave quarters and pollen profiles associated with the creation of Jefferson’s retreat.

Cite this Record

Seeing the Past through the Soil and Trees of Poplar Forest. Eric Proebsting, Daniel Druckenbrod. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434432)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 363