Archaeology Magazine

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Montpelier’s Slave Quarters Excavated

Friday, August 02, 2013

(Billy Hathorn, via Wikimedia Commons)ORANGE, VIRGINIA—Areas of the slave quarters at Montpelier, James Madison’s home, are yielding new information about slave life in the early nineteenth century. “Because the fields have lain fallow since Madison’s time, the sites we are discovering are virtually undisturbed,” said Matthew Reeves of James Madison’s Montpelier. Four areas are under investigation, including the Stable Quarter, where livestock handlers lived; the South Yard, where house slaves lived; and the Tobacco Barn Quarter and the Field Quarter, where field hands lived. Researchers and volunteers are examining the differences and similarities between the living conditions in these different areas of the plantation.