Archaeological Field School Digging for Historical Landmarks
The Monticello-UVA Archaeological Field School is on the verge of discovering two slave dwellings that Thomas Jefferson excluded from his maps of Monticello.
Monticello Archaeological Research Manager Sara Bon-Harper said, "It doesn't occur on any documents, so all the information comes from archaeology."
Artifacts they've scraped up prove they're getting closer to finding the slaves' homes that date back to the early 1800s. Excavators refer to the piece of land they're digging on as "site six."
Monticello's Director of Archaeology Fraser Neiman said, "The idea is to pinpoint artifact concentrations, where there are lots of artifacts, those locations are going to be roughly where there were once houses."
Each piece of plate, window, or brick has weathered the years since hundreds of slaves lived on Jefferson's Plantation. All of which inspire excavators to keep digging.
Bon-Harper explained, "We could find a sub-floor pit which is a storage box cut into the house or we could find a chimney base that was probably made with cobbles and bricks."
Until they do, it's more hard work to better understand a lost part of Monticello's history.
"What we hope to find is more information about how they lived and where exactly were the houses on this site," added Bon-Harper.
All of the archaeologists said they will continue to work at site six until they find the slave houses. That could take up to a decade.