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Monticello Archaeologists Awarded $325,000 Grant to Expand Digital Archive

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Archaeologists at Monticello have been awarded a grant that will help them as they continue to dig and learn about the history of Thomas Jefferson and his estate.

The grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities is called "expanding the digital archaeological archive of comparative slavery research consortium."

It sounds like a lot but what that means is the grant is going towards Monticello’s massive digital archive. The $325,000 grant will help grow the amount of researchers that are internationally working with Monticello.

They are collecting and sharing archaeological data coming from slavery-based societies from hundreds of years ago from the Chesapeake Bay region and the Caribbean.

The digital archive started in the early 2000s and has picked up steam in the past five years.

"Initially when we started off, we only had six sites, now we have 80. This project is going to push that number even higher so we need to find ways to better navigate this massive data," said Fraser Neiman, the director of archaeology. 

The overall goal with the project is to document the experience of enslaved people throughout history.

The grant will also give Monticello’s digital archive a new search function that will allow researchers to discover trends in the data, for example, how different ceramics were in Northern Virginia versus southern Virginia in the 1500s.