The Laboratory Expedition, also known as the Ceramics Workshop, was added to Montpelier’s archaeology programs in 2008 following the excavation of Dolley’s midden. During the excavation of this buried trash pile from James and Dolley Madison’s retirement years, volunteers and archaeologists uncovered tens of thousands of ceramic fragments. As part of the subsequent analysis, archaeologists reconstructed many of the plates and teawares that would have populated the Madisons’ table while they were entertaining guests. This vesselization process required a very special type of person — patient, methodical, and with an eye to detail. In short, lovers of puzzles of all kinds. Thus the Ceramics Workshop was born.
During the week-long program in January you will work in the Archaeology Laboratory and be involved in post-excavation analysis, labeling and reconstructing ceramic materials recovered from the previous field season. To support your study of ceramics, you will receive lectures by specialists in 18th- and 19th-century ceramic types, methods of study, and conservation techniques. The ultimate goal of the Laboratory Expedition is to reconstruct vessels for display in the Archaeology Laboratory, the mansion, the Grills Gallery in the Visitor Center, and even in other museums.
While participating in the program, you will stay in the antebellum plantation house known as “Arlington House.” Or, for those wanting to pamper themselves, there is also the option of staying at one of the local B&B’s.
Our program date for 2013 is:
For more information about the program and to register contact Matthew Reeves, Director of Archaeology, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (540) 672-2728 ext. 160.