FOREST, VA: Although no Indiana Jones, Thomas Jefferson was an amateur archaeologist credited by some for setting the standards for the modern science through his meticulous exploration of a Native American burial mound. For students of modern archaeology, the ongoing exploration of Jefferson’s plantation at Poplar Forest provides an opportunity to get their hands dirty on the dig site and be immersed in the theories and current methods used in the field and the conservation lab.Registration is now open for the 2018 Summer Field School in Historical Archaeology offered by Poplar Forest and the University of Virginia (UVA) from June 4 through July 13.
Participants in the UVA-accredited program will have the chance to contribute to Poplar Forest’s ongoing interpretation of archaeology to the public. Participants will spend 40 hours a week at Poplar Forest with most of the time split between the excavation site and archaeology lab. In the summer of 2018 participants will investigate sites associated with Poplar Forest’s enslaved residents and the plantation’s early infrastructure—including a brick slave quarter site dating to the mid-19th century and possibly an overseer’s house. The practical experience includes working with state-of-the-art equipment and software including a total station for recording field information, GPS receivers for collecting spatial data over large areas, and more.
Poplar Forest archaeology instructors are Jack Gary, Director of Archaeology and Landscapes, whose research interests include plantation landscapes and the material culture of slavery; Eric Proebsting, Ph.D., Senior Research Archaeologist, whose research interests include North American historical archaeology, agricultural communities, landscape archaeology and historical ecology; and Jennifer Ogborne, Ph.D., Curator of Archaeological Collections, whose research interests include foodways, labor relations, industrial archaeology and topics related to Virginia plantations and 19th-century material culture.
The Summer Field School carries six credits from the University of Virginia’s School of Arts and Sciences. Tuition assistance and scholarships are available. The course is open to graduate and undergraduate students of anthropology, archaeology, history or historic preservation; museum volunteers and staff; public and private school teachers in social studies and related subjects; individuals interested in pursuing archaeology as a career; individuals interested in history, archaeology and early American Southern culture; students of Jeffersonian, African American and early American history. Must be at least 18 and have finished high school.
The deadline for submitting applications to the Summer Field School in Historical Archaeology is Monday, April 16, 2018. For more information about the program, tuition, special needs and housing options, or to submit an application visit https://www.poplarforest.org/learn/educational-programs-and-resources/archaeology-field-school.
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