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Montpelier Foundation (Orange, VA 22960-0551)
Terry P. Brock (Project Director: December 2018 to present)
Mary Furlong Minkoff (Co Project Director: February 2019 to present)
Matthew B. Reeves (Co Project Director: April 2019 to present)
Understanding the Overseer: Using Archaeology to Examine Status and Identity at James Madison's Montpelier

Field research on the overseer’s house at James Madison’s Montpelier leading to public programs and publications on the social, economic, and racial complexity of 19th-century plantations in the United States. (36 months)

This study will adopt the space/place model to examine the overseer at James Madison’s Montpelier, an early 19th century plantation in the Virginia Piedmont. It will examine the relationship of the overseer to the plantation elite and the enslaved community through an in depth study of the overseer’s space on the landscape, and how they defined that space through household activities. We will examine the space the overseer occupied on the landscape through a spatial analysis of the farm complex in which the overseer’s house was situated, and excavations of the overseer’s home and its surrounding yard space. Archaeologists will examine how the plantation owner situated the overseer in relationship to the rest of the community through building architecture and the spatial proxemics of the overseer's house. Then we will examine how the overseer and his household responded to this position through the organization of his household activities and consumer choices.

[Grant products]

Project fields:

Collaborative Research

Research Programs

$249,820 (approved)
$249,820 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2020 – 3/31/2023