The Department of Archaeology is dedicated to studying and preserving Monticello's archaeological record, and to deciphering its meaning through comparative research.
Monticello is home to a unique collection of artifacts, antique books, and works of art relating to every aspect of Jefferson's diverse interests as well as to the larger Monticello community.
In 1794 Jefferson added a nailmaking operation to his blacksmith shop on Mulberry Row at Monticello. He hoped it would provide a source of cash income while he restored the depleted soil of his farms. Nail rod was shipped from Philadelphia and hammered into nails ranging in size from six-pennies to twenty-pennies.
The Elizabeth Hemings Site. Excavations in 1995 and 1996 at the site where Elizabeth Hemings, matriarch of Monticello's famous Hemings family, lived during the decade before her death in 1807.
Jefferson and the Early Diplomatic Corps
The recent controversy over release of U.S. diplomatic cables via Wikileaks got us thinking about how Jefferson, the U.S.'s first Secretary of State under the Constitution, and his successors communicated with their ambassadors and consuls abroad.
Archaeology of the Mountaintop Landscape and Mulberry Row
Monticello archaeologists offer an in-depth look at how Jefferson's neoclassical architectural masterpiece, the surrounding ornamental landscape, the houses, shops, roads and paths changed over time, and what we can learn from these changes about Jefferson, Monticello and Virginia's slave society.
Don't forget to check out our free Archaeology Walks to Site 6, offered at 11 a.m., Monday-Friday, June 4-July 12, 2013!
Learning how to Learn from the Archaeological Record
Explore the latest findings from the Monticello-University Archaeological Field School, where archaeologists and students have been investigating a site that was home to enslaved field workers in the early nineteenth century (Site 6). Participants will work with archaeologists in hands-on examination and interpretation of newly excavated artifacts and the computer-based analysis used to unlock their historical meaning.
The ICJS fellowship program for domestic and international scholars promotes research of Jefferson’s life and times and the community at Monticello. Since its founding, the ICJS has hosted nearly 300 domestic and international scholars from the U.S.
The Department of Archaeology is dedicated to studying and preserving Monticello's archaeological record, and to deciphering its meaning through comparative research. Historical topics of special focus in the Department's fieldwork include landscape history and slavery, both at Monticello and in the Chesapeake region.
One of the favourite parts of my job as an archaeological analyst at Monticello is presenting our research to visitors. I love the opportunity to tell the story of those who made Monticello their home hundreds of years ago. Things as simple as broken dishes, lost buttons, and discarded tobacco pipes can give incredible insights into the daily lives on this plantation.
Learn about our current archaeological field research at the Joiner’s Shop on Mulberry Row as it is being conducted by the Monticello-University of Virginia Archaeological Field School. The Joiner’s Shop was the structure in which highly-skilled free and enslaved craftsmen manufactured decorative woodwork and furniture for Jefferson’s mansion during the 18th and 19th centuries.
The West Front of Monticello is one of the most widely recognized views of Thomas Jefferson's home. Thousands upon thousands of visitors have posed on the West Portico steps to have their images recorded in front of the facade that has graced coins, postage stamps, and countless other objects over the years. Every Fourth of July, new U.S. citizens are sworn in on the same masonry steps. But were there finished steps at the West Portico in Jefferson's day?