Chasing Rabbits: Investigating Domesticated Leporids at Jefferson’s Monticello

Author(s): Valerie M.J. Hall

Year: 2020


This is a paper/report submission presented at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Recent excavations at Monticello’s South Pavilion provided researchers the opportunity to analyze faunal remains from fill which originated in the plantation’s first kitchen yard and environs. Preliminary analysis suggests food procurement on the site fits patterns seen in newly-established plantations across the Chesapeake region, in which the percentage of wild game brought to the table gradually decreased as domesticated herds of livestock grew. A key exception at Monticello involves the percentage of rabbit remains, which are disproportionally higher than at contemporaneous sites. These results prompted investigation into whether Thomas Jefferson imported domesticated leporids from Europe. This research will attempt to prove the presence of domesticated rabbits at Jefferson’s Monticello using methods including biometrics, stable isotope analysis, and aDNA analysis.

Cite this Record

Chasing Rabbits: Investigating Domesticated Leporids at Jefferson’s Monticello. Valerie M.J. Hall. 2020 ( tDAR id: 457279)

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Temporal Keywords
18th Century

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): 356