Excavating What Jefferson Left Off His Maps

Posted: Updated:

Archeologists at Monticello are digging up what Thomas Jefferson left off his maps.

The Archaeological Research Manager at Monticello Sara Bon-Harper said, "We're getting the information here that we would need if we were able to reconstruct Mulberry Row."

Since September, six Monticello archaeologists have been digging into a 20 foot excavation to find the actual location and grade of this historical road.

Susan Stein, the gilder senior curator said, "Mulberry Row was the dynamic industrial hub."

In 1796, Thomas Jefferson documented as many as 23 buildings surrounding the road on a drawing for an insurance policy, furthering Monticello's reputation.

"Best documented, best studied, and best presented plantation in America," said Stein referencing Monticello.

Archaeologists dug up what his documents left out. Bon-Harper said, "He did not record everything and occasionally we find evidence of that."

Thomas Jefferson was notorious for his note taking but these archaeologists found he has left a possible slave dwelling off of his maps. Stein said, "The excitement of this new excavation is it shows us a new building we didn't know existed before."

Bon-Harper added, "This is where archaeology comes in and adds information that isn't in historical documents."

They plan to outline slave quarter farms this summer and are in the process of looking for other sites to excavate as well.