Jefferson's Poplar Forest: Unearthing a Virginia Plantation by Barbara J. Heath, Jack Gary

By Barbara J. Heath, Jack Gary

One hundred years within the lifetime of a founding father’s 5,000 acre “retreat”

“Poplar wooded area embodies the end result of Jefferson’s imaginative and prescient of the yankee agricultural excellent. This hugely readable quantity introduces us to the folks, gadgets, and landscapes of Poplar wooded area within the tumultuous interval among the Revolution and the Civil struggle. Jefferson’s Poplar Forest provides a remarkably multidimensional portrait of the property as a private retreat, a designed panorama, a plantation, and a house and place of work for enslaved African American families.”—Lu Ann De Cunzo, college of Delaware

“With their efficient commitments to long term and interdisciplinary examine, the individuals draw upon the normal topics of slavery and plantation landscapes yet imbue people with new power via incorporating the problems of ecology, identification, enterprise, and consumerism.”­—Douglas Sanford, college of Mary Washington

Thomas Jefferson as soon as referred to as his plantation Poplar woodland, “the most beneficial of my possessions.” For Jefferson, Poplar woodland was once a personal retreat for him to flee the hoards of tourists and daily pressures of his iconic property, Monticello.

           
Jefferson’s Poplar Forest makes use of the information won from long term and interdisciplinary learn to discover the studies of quite a lot of those who lived and labored there among the yankee Revolution and the Civil warfare. a number of archaeological digs display information about the lives of Jefferson, next vendors and their households, and the slaves (and descendants) who worked and toiled on the website. From the plantation condo to the weeds within the backyard, Barbara Heath, Jack Gary, and various members learn the landscapes of the valuables, investigating the relationships among the folks, items, and areas of Poplar Forest.

because the first book-length research of the archaeology of a president’s property, Jefferson’s Poplar Forest bargains a compelling and uniquely particular check out the lives of these who known as Poplar woodland home.

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Heath and meaning of these pits, the explanations for their fluctuating numbers over time, and the nature and extent of their relationship to house size have all been major questions for plantation researchers since the 1970s (Fesler 2004b, 280– 341, 434–436; Hatch 2009; Heath this volume; Heath and Breen 2012; McKee 1992; Neiman 1997, 2008; Samford 1996, 93–94, 2007). Artifacts recovered from subfloor pits and other quarter-site contexts provided an important avenue for investigating plantation life among enslaved African Americans.

Plantations were also important places that facilitated and structured interactions between diverse people and between people and goods. In this volume several authors discuss the material world of Poplar Forest’s residents with regard to the complex interplay between landscapes, buildings, objects, families, and communities. Author Jack Gary examines consumer choices to better understand how people shaped their everyday lives with mass-produced objects that were important to them. Gary argues that Jefferson encoded messages in the landscape and architecture of Poplar Forest.

His chapter treats ornamental landscapes as expressions of personal identity writ large. At Poplar Forest, this is a reflexive identity; Jefferson’s private retreat and grounds reinforced his notion of himself that he had developed through study, observation, and action. Trussell’s chapter provides a nuanced approach 15 16 Barbara J. Heath and Jack Gary to formal landscapes that moves away from the traditional issues of status and power to explore their intensely autobiographical nature. Plantations were also important places that facilitated and structured interactions between diverse people and between people and goods.

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