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From Forest to Field: Over Three Centuries of Vegetation Change at Poplar Forest

Author(s): Jack Gary

Year: 2017

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A sealed context dating to the mid-17th century at Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s plantation and retreat in Bedford County, Virginia has provided an opportunity to examine aspects of the protohistoric environment prior to the introduction of large-scale European agriculture in the 18th and 19th centuries. Palynological analysis conducted on this context reveals ratios of arboreal to non-arboreal pollen as well as the presence or absence of disturbance indicators that provide a baseline for comparing the impacts of later plantation agriculture on the local and regional vegetation. The pollen evidence from this protohistoric context when paired with previous palynological studies at Poplar Forest chronicles over three centuries of human interaction with the land and the resulting environmental impacts. This paper will highlight the scope of deforestation associated with the creation of the plantation and the agricultural management practices employed by Jefferson.

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From Forest to Field: Over Three Centuries of Vegetation Change at Poplar Forest. Jack Gary. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435538)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 693

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