Matthew B. Reeves, Ph.D.


Director of Archaeology and Landscape Restoration

Matt has been the Director of Archaeology since 2000 and is in charge of the overall archaeological research at James Madison’s Montpelier.  The projects he had developed at Montpelier include the archaeological research and restoration of the mansion grounds, most especially the homes of the enslaved community at Montpelier.  He is responsible for ensuring that the well-preserved archaeological complex at Montpelier not only is tapped for an accurate restoraiton of the Madison-era landscape, but also that is it preserved for future generations.

Matt has a deep interest in community-based archaeology--and this ranges from working with descendant communities, metal detectorists, and the public in general.  The week-long experiential programs he has established at Montpelier are a prime example of public engagement and how archaeology can a transformative study of the past.  These programs have morphed from being exclusively excavation based (getting the public into excavation units) to getting the public involved in all aspects of the research to restoration process (Locating sites through metal detector survey, excavation the sites, analyzing the site, and reconstructing the lost landscape and community of Montpelier.  The most important part is getting the public involved in a network people interested in the rediscovery of our collective past (see LEARN page) .

Over the past two decades, Matt’s research has focused on plantation life and Civil War encampments with an overall focus on sites of the African Diaspora (both pre- and post-emancipation). Prior to being the Director of Archaeology at Montpelier, he directed projects at Manassas National Battlefield Park, Jefferson Patterson Park, various New York DOT projects, and has worked on a wide variety of historic and prehistoric sites in Maryland, Virginia, New York, and Jamaica. His doctorate is from Syracuse University and focused on two Jamaican (West Indies) early 19th-century slave settlements that he spent two years excavating and analyzing. He has published many articles on his work on archaeology of the African Diaspora and the Civil War. 

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Contact Information


Telephone: +1 (540) 672-2728 x160


Director of Archaeology