Archaeology Expeditions

Research & Collections

The Montpelier Archaeology Expedition programs gives the public a chance to dig at an 18th century archaeological site for the week and help Montpelier Archaeologists rediscover the lost Madison plantation. Most of our programs take place at the archaeology site and place participants in a unit.  This year we are exploring 18th century slave quarter sites in wooded portions of the property and 18th century structures near the mansion. The 2014 dig programs are as follows:

  • Session #5:  August 10-16
  • Session #6:  August 17-23
  • Session #7:  September 7-13
  • Session #8:  Sept 21-27 (alumni)
  • Session #9:  October 5-11 (alumni)
  • Session #10:  October 19-25

We also have Metal-Detector Expeditions where the public can help locate sites across the 2700 property to understand the larger plantation complex, lab analysis expeditions where the public can learn about analyzing and conserving artifacts, and our Log Cabin expedition, where members participate in reconstructing lost structures on the Montpelier landscape.


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.

For more information about how to participate in these programs, please contact Matthew Reeves, Director of Archaeology and Landscape Restoration, at or (540) 672-2728 x 160.


"Dr. Reeves and the rest of his staff were wonderful to work with—patient, willing to share knowledge, and helpful to those who were first time 'diggers.'"

Archaeology Expedition participant