Uncovering German Identity on the Colonial Virginia Frontier

Author(s): Amelia Chisholm

Year: 2017


Archaeological excavations began during the summer of 2016 at Fort Germanna, an 18th century piedmont Virginia fort.  The fort was built in 1714 at the bequest of Governor Alexander Spotswood to expand the western frontier of Virginia.  Fort Germanna was only in existence for 4 years, from 1714-1718, and inhabited by German miners brought to Virginia by Spotswood to set up an iron mine.  While building the research agenda for this project we consider how a German ethnicity and identity could be uncovered through archaeological research.  Through this paper I hope address issues such as: is ethnicity able to be uncovered through material culture remains and can this be used to build a plan for research? What are other factors that surround the habitation of the fort that could influence how the German settlers used and moved through the landscape?

Cite this Record

Uncovering German Identity on the Colonial Virginia Frontier. Amelia Chisholm. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435391)

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Temporal Keywords
18th Century

Spatial Coverage

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

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 231