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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Archaeologists Investigate Jefferson’s Poplar Forest

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Jefferson Poplar ForestBEDFORD COUNTY, VIRGINIA—Archaeologists are investigating land once owned by Thomas Jefferson before a new two-lane parkway is constructed at Poplar Forest, his private retreat and plantation. According to a report in The News & Advance, Jack Gary, director of archaeology for Poplar Forest, said more than 30 sites were found. Some of the sites contained daub, which was used as a material in the construction of log cabins and to fireproof wooden chimneys. These sites are thought to have been the homes of enslaved people. A broken horse bit was uncovered in the area of a roadbed. The researchers also recovered stone weapons thought to be about 8,000 years old, and burned chestnut wood dated to the mid-1600s. The fires may have been set by Native Americans to clear the land. To read about a recent discovery at Jefferson's Monticello, go to “Close Quarters.”

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