Tobacco Barn Collections

Research & Collections

The area of the Tobacco Barn Quarter was a multi-use site. First being used to cure tobacco the staple crop in the 18th-century, then used as a temporary living quarters for enslaved field labors, and finally used to store and process wheat—a staple crop when the tobacco market plummeted in the 1790s.

The domestic occupation of the site was short-lived dating from the 1760s until the early 19th-century and was likely used in the off-season initially. The artifact assemblage was very small compared to the other quarter sites closer to the main house or further afield to the south where several quarters were identified. A closer look at the artifacts reveals very early-dating ceramics, a limited quantity of bottled glass, very few personal or clothing-related objects, and most of the faunal remains recovered were from the borrow pit associated with the quarter. Agricultural-related objects were found in abundance including the remains of a wheat threshing machine with both cast and wrought iron parts. A similar apparatus was owned by Thomas Jefferson at his home farm Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Below is a representation of the types of domestic materials and objects recovered during the field excavations. For a more detailed description of the artifact assemblage and analysis see: Tobacco Barn Object Report.

 

 

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Final overhead photograph of the Tobacco Barn excavations (2012) with the Visitors Center in the background.