Montpelier Slave Quarters Excavation Bringing the Past to Light - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Montpelier Slave Quarters Excavation Bringing the Past to Light

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Slave quarters at Monpelier Slave quarters at Monpelier
Archaeologists examine items that have been uncovered Archaeologists examine items that have been uncovered

New findings about slave quarters at Montpelier are bringing the past to light. Most have been made possible thanks to a grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

A three-year grant is supporting the excavation of slave quarters at James Madison's Montpelier. With the grant, archaeologists were able to pinpoint the exact locations of where the slave quarters stood.

Montpelier built wood structures on the site where the slave quarters once stood to give visitors an idea of just how close they were to the actual mansion.

In the lab, archaeologists are examining pieces of pottery, bones, and tools that have been uncovered.

Matthew Reeves, Montpelier's director of archaeology, says they have made great strides in bringing history out of the ruins.

"All the research we're doing is to one day be able to restore these buildings back to the landscape, not as timber frame ghosts like you have right here, but actually restored buildings that we can furnish and really in a more deeper way interpret the enslaved community's life here at Montpelier," he stated.

He says the wood structures are a cost-efficient and accurate way to represent the original buildings for now, and allow for continued excavation of the site. Reeves says that in order to fully restore the buildings, they will need an estimated $3 million to $5 million.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has produced a short movie about the excavations. For more information on how you can help with the excavation, visit the Montpelier website.

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