Archaeologists begin to use Thomas Jefferson’s 1796 Mutual Assurance Plat, an insurance document detailing all of the storehouses, workshops, and dwellings on Mulberry Row, as a guide to understanding slavery at Monticello. Using this plat, Harvard graduate student Oriel Pi-Sunyer uses a trenching technique to conduct archaeological excavations along the western half of Mulberry Row. Pi-Sunyer locates three buried structures – the “blacksmith and nailer’s shop” (building D), an “addition” to the nailery (building j), and a “store house for nailrod and other iron” (building l). He also excavates the remains of the “joiner’s shop” (building C).
The history of Research and Interpretation of Slavery at Monticello stretches back to the 1950s. See some of the groundbreaking milestones in the timeline below.