Archaeological Excavations in Monticello's First Kitchen


In 1808, enslaved African American laborers at Monticello dumped about 1,000 cubic feet of dirt to raise the floor to convert the Kitchen into a Wash House in preparation for Thomas Jefferson's retirement years. For the previous forty years, this Kitchen had been the space in which fine cuisine was prepared for Jefferson, his family, and guests. Archaeologists recently excavated nearly a third of this deposit, reidentifying the stew stoves, the original brick floor, and fireplace. Analysis of the artifacts sought to determine the source of the fill. This paper analyzes and compares ceramics and small domestic artifacts from the original Kitchen with those from the immediately adjacent Kitchen Yard. Based on the artifact assemblage, we suspect enslaved workers used dirt sourced from this conveniently located yard space. The excavations and the results of our analysis allow us to better understand the processes of the restructuring of the plantation landscape.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Excavations in Monticello's First Kitchen. Crystal L. Ptacek, Beatrix Arendt, Craig Kelley, Lauren Gryctko. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, New Orleans, Louisiana. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441351)

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): 640