Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Jefferson’s Landscape Will Be Restored at Poplar Forest

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Jefferson-Ornamental-Landsc.medium(Poplar Forest)FOREST, VIRGINIA—The landscape in front of Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s personal retreat, will be restored to its Jefferson-era appearance. Dozens of English boxwoods and rose shrubs that had been planted by the family that owned the house in the mid-nineteenth century have been removed so that archaeologists can carefully excavate their root systems and look for traces of Jefferson’s designs in the soil. (Archaeologists confirmed that the shrubs were not part of Jefferson’s design when they found a piece of ceramic under the roots of one of the boxwoods. It had been manufactured after 1833, and Jefferson died in 1826.) “It’s not every day that a national historic site, a presidential site, goes through such a transformation in one day,” said Jeffrey Nichols, president of Poplar Forest.