"All the Usual Improvements": Rediscovering the Plantation Landscape at James Monroe’s Highland

Author(s): Kyle W. Edwards

Year: 2018


Unlike other Presidential plantations, archaeological research at Highland has been relatively limited. This, combined with a complex occupational history and sparse documentary records, has provided little evidence of the plantation landscape constructed by Monroe in 1799 or clues to how that landscape was reshaped by subsequent owners. However, spurred by the recent discovery of the original plantation house, ongoing archaeological survey is providing new insights into landscape organization and daily life at Highland. Relying on archaeological, architectural, and documentary data, this paper begins to piece together the complex history of the Highland’s landscape, focusing on yard spaces and dependencies surrounding the plantation’s domestic core. Newly recovered data reveal radical changes to the landscape during the 19th century, which reflect changing strategies and practices. More significantly, these data give important details into enslaved life at Highland, while providing a foundation for future research on the changing nature of plantation slavery.


Cite this Record

"All the Usual Improvements": Rediscovering the Plantation Landscape at James Monroe’s Highland. Kyle W. Edwards. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441347)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


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): 617