Exploring the Layers and Elements at the Center of Jefferson’s Retreat Landscape

Author(s): Eric Proebsting; Howard Cyr

Year: 2018


Over the past seven years, archaeologists have examined three landscape elements that are central to the design of Jefferson’s Poplar Forest retreat. These include the rows of paper mulberries that flanked the house; the clumps of ornamental trees and oval-shaped flower beds located on the northern side of the structure; and the paved circular road that brought carriages to the steps of Jefferson’s octagonal retreat. This paper will discuss how soil studies have provided significant insight into the factors contributing toward the creation and appearance of these important parts of the Poplar Forest landscape. In particular, geochemistry and micromorphology have been used with success to shed new light on Jefferson’s ornamental design as well as the extensive work-related tasks carried out by enslaved laborers to transform a hilltop worn by decades of plantation agriculture into the center of Jefferson’s retirement landscape.

Cite this Record

Exploring the Layers and Elements at the Center of Jefferson’s Retreat Landscape. Eric Proebsting, Howard Cyr. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, New Orleans, Louisiana. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441350)

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): 809