“’Double-Barreled Chimnies’”: Discovering an Irish Landscape in Central Virginia

Author(s): Amanda Johnson

Year: 2014


In the 1850s, over 2000 Irish immigrants were brought to an area 20 miles west of Charlottesville, Virginia to construct the tunnels and cuts associated with the Blue Ridge Railroad. The dangerous and lengthly work transformed this transient immigrant population into a semi-settled community for the duration of the decade long project. During the summer of 2013, a field school from the University of Maryland focused excavation efforts on dry-laid stone platforms above the tracks near the eastern portal of the Blue Ridge Railroad Tunnel. The Irish inhabited impermanent shanty structures on the side of Afton Mountain while constructing the tunnel, changing the landscape to suit their needs. The aim of the project is to examine historical and archeological findings to provide an intimate glimpse into the daily lives and experiences of the Irish laborers and their families and to connect these experiences to the Irish larger diasporic community.

Cite this Record

“’Double-Barreled Chimnies’”: Discovering an Irish Landscape in Central Virginia. Amanda Johnson. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437411)

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Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): POS-98,32