"All The Usual Improvements": Understanding The Plantation Landscape At Ash Lawn-Highland

Author(s): Kyle W. Edwards

Year: 2016


Much of the existing scholarship on Ash Lawn-Highland has focused upon President Monroe’s domestic and political life, but little is known about the day-to-day functioning of the plantation including agricultural production, land management strategies, and the lives of enslaved laborers. In some ways these aspects have been seen as peripheral to Monroe’s political ascendance; however, in 19th-century Virginia, the productive organization of the plantation was socially significant, communicating status and authority. Relying on existing archaeological data, recently completed archaeological survey, and primary source documents, this paper begins to piece together the plantation landscape at Highland by examining productive spaces beyond the main house. This data is then compared to contemporary plantations in the Virginia Piedmont in an attempt to situate Highland and its owner within a broader regional pattern. 

Cite this Record

"All The Usual Improvements": Understanding The Plantation Landscape At Ash Lawn-Highland. Kyle W. Edwards. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434627)

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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): 591