A Shoe: Soul of the Salubria Attic in Culpeper County, Virginia

Author(s): Kerri S. Barile; Kerry S. Gonzalez

Year: 2014


It was a strange request indeed. Is it possible to do an archaeological dig in an attic? An August 2011 earthquake caused extensive damage to Salubria, a circa 1757 Georgian mansion, requiring rebuilding chimneys and roof repair. To help prepare the space for construction, the owners requested that the attic be cleaned of the ‘detritus’ that had accumulated on the attic floor during the building’s 250-year occupation. Over 10,000 items were found during the ‘dig’ spanning the eighteenth through the early-twentieth centuries. One of the most notable and intriguing artifacts was a Federal period, hand-woven men’s slipper. In this unique case of ‘reverse taphonomy,’ how did this shoe and so many other items end up in the attic? What can the items tell us about the use and repair of this space? And, do the artifacts have any ties to unspoken narratives on belief and secrecy over the centuries? So’archaeology in the attic? Absolutely!

Cite this Record

A Shoe: Soul of the Salubria Attic in Culpeper County, Virginia. Kerri S. Barile, Kerry S. Gonzalez. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436704)

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Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-14,02