Alternative Spring Break 2014--Archaeology at Montpelier

Tier 1

Information on the Spring 2014 Excavation Project

Excavations in the for March 16-22 are focused on the well-preserved 18th and early 19th century sites we have located in wooded portions of the property through metal detector surveys during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.  Right now we are currently conducting more intensive surveys (metal detector and shovel test pit) at these sites to determine the most productive place to location excavation units.  In March and April, we will be excavating 5ft x 5ft units at these various sites—these will the subject of the programs described below.  We recently received a National Geographic Grant for this set of surveys and excavations.  For more information on these surveys, see the following (  During the Spring 2014 excavations, archaeology team members will be looking for and excavating remains of 18th century structures, work yards, and discovering a myriad of ceramics, glasswares, and other objects used and owned by the Madison slaves at Montpelier.



Each program is designed to give participants exclusive hands-on experience in excavation and post-excavation analysis of archaeological materials. You will work side-by-side with a staff of eight trained, professional archaeologists, which means you will be working on real sites—sensitive features, artifacts, and deposits that have been buried for centuries and that the public would usually not get to experience. In addition to digging at artifact-rich sites, you will also engage in lectures, and take "insider" tours of the archaeological sites and the mansion.

Arlington House


During your Expedition, you will have the special opportunity of staying at a converted antebellum plantation house right on the grounds of Montpelier with other Expedition participants.  Click on the following link for Photos of Arlington House.

Please contact Matthew Reeves, Director of Archaeology and Landscape Restoration, for more information about 2014 programs at or 540.672.2728 x160.


We have numerous other dates for archaeology programs throughout the year (spring, summer and fall), click here for more information. 



Archaeologists surveying sites on Chicken Mountain. This particular site is a potential barn complex.

Participants mending 18th century plate from a Madison-era slave quarter at Montpelier.