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Grant number like: RZ-51141-10

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Montpelier Foundation (Orange, VA 22960-0551)
Matthew B. Reeves (Project Director: November 2009 to July 2016)

Collaborative Research
Research Programs

[White paper][Grant products][Media coverage]

$250,000 (approved)
$249,562 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2010 – 6/30/2014

Unearthing A Community of Households: Archaeology of the Early 19th-Century Enslaved Community at James Madison's Montpelier

Excavation, analysis, and interpretation of slave habitation sites at Montpelier, home of James Madison. (36 months)

Archaeology of the enslaved community at Montpelier offers the opportunity to examine three different groups that existed at President Madison's home: house slaves, field slaves, and skilled slaves. With the homes of these slaves being abandoned in 1844 and never plowed, the archaeological deposits within serves as a virtual time capsule. The past ten years of archaeology at Montpelier have provided an intimate understanding of the mansion landscape that has given us detailed insights into the Madisons' lifestyle. This study will show how this lifestyle intersected with the various groups within the Montpelier enslaved community with differences being measured through household goods, housing architecture, and organization of yard space. This comparative study will not only allow the complex dynamics of the Montpelier community to be evaluated, but will also serve as a valuable comparison to other studies of enslaved households in the African Atlantic World.