LIVESTREAMS WITH ARCHAEOLOGISTS

On any Montpelier excavation, lunch time is when the real work gets done. Its when the whole team sits together, shares a meal, and talks about archaeology. Lunch and LEARNs are Montpelier’s effort to keep this tradition going: bringing a weekly, casual conversation or lecture about archaeology, from the comfort of your own home.

All lectures are by Montpelier staff or colleagues, and topics range from discussing our research, methodology, changes we are making with our programs, or how to identify different artifacts. They are all free.

The lectures happen weekly or bi-weekly on Wednesdays. Get notified of upcoming Lunch and Learns by subscribing to our email list, or registering on the calendar of events below.

Upcoming Lunch and LEARNs

Ask Me (Us) Anything!

Sarah Lee Hall, Archaeology Programs Coordinator

Sarah Lee Hall, who works in Archaeology as the Public Program Coordinator, is also an historical interpreter for the Education Department; in this zoom session, she will be discussing how a balanced reliance upon documents, archaeological findings, and oral traditions help the Montpelier Foundation to constantly analyze and interpret the past as it pertained to multiple perspectives.

September 22, 2021 at 12:00 EST

Lunch and Learn--As Me (Mary and Matt) Anything

This Lunch and Learn featured Dr. Matthew Reeves, Director of Archaeology, and Dr. Mary Furlong Minkoff, Assistant Director of Archaeology to kick off the Fall season of Lunch and Learns! The session gave participants to ask questions about a wide array of topics ranging from how we came to work at Montpelier to our work with the Montpelier Descendant Committee.

September 22nd, 2021, Noon EST

Archaeology at the Field Quarter-A retrospective based on current finds

Dr. Matthew Reeves, Director of Archaeology
Matt Reeves talks about Archaeology at the Field Quarter. Excavated some 10 years ago, this is the location of the reconstructed ghost cabins in the field below the visitor center. Matt will talk about the finds at this site that allowed us to understand the homes of the enslaved households who lived at the Home Farm, the 50-acre site we are currently surveying and investigating. The finds from 2012-2013 are put into context with our current understanding of the Home Farm complex.

August 18th, 2021, Noon EST

Live at the Blacksmith Shop!

Dr. Matthew Reeves, Director of Archaeology
Dr. Terry P. Brock, Assistant Director of Archaeology

Join us for a discussion of the surveys of the Blacksmith Shop, the site we are excavating  right now, from Metal detector to GPR to our current excavations. Matt will start with a discussion of the results of the metal detector survey and Terry will talk  about shovel test pits, ground penetrating radar, and initial findings from the units!

May 12th, 2021, Noon EST

Summary of the Overseer's House Site

Dr. Terry P. Brock, Assistant Director of Archaeology

Christopher Pasch, MA, Archaeology Crew Chief

Join us for an overview of the results from our excavations at the Overseer’s Site, our excavations from 2019 and 2020. We will look at the different clues that we discovered in the field work and archaeological survey that have led us to a likely location for the building, and gives us clues as to what architectural components may have been present.

April 7th, 2021, Noon EST

Do You Know What This Is?: Glass, Glass, and More Glass!

Dr. Mary Furlong-Minkoff
Curator of Archaeological Collections
The Montpelier Foundation

Mary Furlong Minkoff shows how to identify and date glass artifacts including bottles, drinking glasses, windows, and lighting fixtures. We promise watching this won’t cause a (window) pane in your (bottle) neck!

March 10th, 2021 12 PM EST

Archaeological Excavations at Belle Grove Plantation - Sister Site to Montpelier

Matthew Greer, MA
Phd Candidate at Syracuse University
Fellow at Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies
University of Virginia

Matt Greer will discuss his research on Belle Grove Plantation’s enslaved community. Belle Grove was owned by James Madison’s brother-in-law Isaac Hite, husband of his sister, Nelly Madison Hite, and there are numerous connections between the enslaved communities at the two sites. Many of you may remember Matt from your expeditions as he worked on the team from 2011 to 2015.

Matt is a Ph.D. candidate at Syracuse University and is currently a fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at UVA, where he is writing his dissertation. We are doubly excited to hear about Matt’s work give the connections between Montpelier and Belle Grove.

March 10th, 2021 12 PM EST

Discovering the 1820s Formal Landscape at Montpelier

Dr. Matthew Reeves, Director of Archaeology
The Montpelier Foundation

The Montpelier Dig team discovered evidence for the front carriage road, dooryard fence, and gravel path leading to the front portico through extensive excavation between 2005 and 2007, part of the project to restore the main house to its Madison-era appearance. These 1820s landscape features were buried below a layer of clay fill deposited by enslaved workers in the late 1840s, after Dolley Madison sold Montpelier.

Join Montpelier’s Director of Archaeology, Matt Reeves, as he details the finds from this project and explains what they reveal about Montpelier’s formal picturesque landscape and the enslaved labor required to create it. Note: This project has a special relevance currently as our remote volunteer team is entering all the records from these excavations.

February 3rd, 2021 12 PM EST

Looking into the Unit: Using Online Forms to Make Excavation Data Public

Dr. Terry P. Brock, Assistant Director of Archaeology
The Montpelier Foundation

The transition to digitally-collected records using ArcGIS mobile collection tools has helped Montpelier archaeologists more easily gather, study, and analyze excavation results. Additionally, it has enabled us to make archaeological data accessible, in context and in real-time, to the public. Dr. Terry Brock will present our most recent survey work and excavations at the Overseer’s House to show how ArcGIS Online streamlines our work. He will be seeking ideas for what you, the expedition participants, would want to see in a dashboard. See examples from the STP surveys here.

January 13th, 2021

Digital Crowd-Sourcing at Montpelier's Archaeology Department

Dr. Matthew Reeves, Director of Archaeology and Landscape Restoration
The Montpelier Foundation

Citizen science (in-person data collection by amatuer scientists) has been a critical facet of Montpelier’s expedition programs from the beginning. More recently, we have experimented with digital crowd-sourcing, working with our virtual DigMontpelier family of citizen scientists to conduct data entry on a remote basis. Dr. Matt Reeves will talk about some of our past projects, our current work, and projects we are looking at for the future. We would love to get input from participants on projects you all would like to see.

Do You Know What This Is? More Than Just a Rock

Dr. Mary Furlong-Minkoff, Curator of Archaeological Collections
The Montpelier Foundation

Dr. Mary Furlong Minkoff, Montpelier’s Curator of Archaeological Collections, will provide an overview of the rocks we encounter while excavating at Montpelier. She will explain why rocks appear at particular sites and why we collect them. She will be joined by Dr. Matthew Reeves who will go over the geological origins of Montpelier’s rocks.

Archaeology of a Female Planter in mid-18th century Piedmont Virginia

Dr. Matthew Reeves, Director of Archaeology and Landscape Restoration
The Montpelier Foundation

Records for females in 18th-century society are often scarce. Such is the case for our investigations into President James Madison’s Grandmother Frances Taylor Madison. Widowed in 1732, she ran the Montpelier plantation for the first thirty years of its existence. Using a combination of archaeological evidence, a scattering of court records, and information on her oldest son (James Madison, Sr.), we build a case for intersectionality between gender, sexuality, generational deference, and race within a paternalistic society.

The Archaeology of Women at Montpelier

Dr. Mary Furlong-Minkoff, Curator of Archaeological Collections
The Montpelier Foundation

How does archaeology help us explore the lives of women at Montpelier? This talk discusses the way we can use the artifacts we discover at Montpelier to tell us about the lives of enslaved African American women, Dolley Madison, and the other women who lived and worked at Montpelier.

The Materiality of African American Households in Western Orange County

Stefan Woehlke, PhD Candidate
University of Maryland

African American households in Western Orange County faced many challenges throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Generations of Black families struggled against a white-supremacist social structure where the intersections of rural capitalism, racism, and sexism exposed Black people to the risk of anti-black and sexual violence, economic exploitation, and undereducation. The history and archaeology of Black households around Montpelier demonstrate the multitude of ways in which Black people endured these burdens and tried to persevere over a period lasting 300 years. During this week’s lunch and learn, Stefan Woehlke will use the archaeology and history of Black households from the last decades of slavery through the twentieth century to learn from the material remains of this struggle.

October 14, 2020

Metal Detecting at Montpelier

Dr. Matthew Reeves, Director of Archaeology and Landscape Restoration
The Montpelier Foundation

Join Matt Reeves for a lively discussion of how metal detecting has changed what we know about Montpelier and how we think about the larger landscape. In today’s Lunch and Learn he will take you out to the site where Dennis is conducting survey to locate the 1820s blacksmith shop at Montpelier.

September 30, 2020

Do You Know What This Is? Rusty Metal Things

Dr. Mary Furlong-Minkoff, Curator of Archaeological Collections
The Montpelier Foundation

Part of the “Do You Know What this is?” Series, Dr. Minkoff talks about metal objects, from nails to hinges to cookpots. How do we identify them? What do they tell us?

Live at the Overseer's Site!

Dr. Matt Reeves, Director of Archaeology and Landscape Restoration
The Montpelier Foundation

Join us live at the overseers site during our September expedition where we will not only give a tour of the amazing features we are finding at our current archaeology dig, but how we do socially distanced archaeology—both in the excavation units and at the field lab!

Do You Know What This Is? Beads, Buttons, and Other Small Finds with Big Stories

Dr. Mary Furlong-Minkoff, Curator of Archaeological Collections
The Montpelier Foundation

Part of the “Do You Know What this is?” Series, Dr. Minkoff Mary Furlong Minkoff brings us through an examination of some of our favorite items—personal items that we find in the archaeological record—buttons, beads, clothing fasteners, tobacco pipes and other finds that bring the past to life.

Foodways Of Pre- And Post-Emancipation African Americans At James Madison’s Montpelier: A Zooarchaeological Analysis Of Food Preference And Food Access

Heather Lash, Master’s Candidate
Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Former Montpelier intern Heather Lash will present her recently completed master’s thesis research on the zooarchaeological analysis completed on faunal remains from the Field Quarters and Gilmore Farm sites. She will detail how these assemblages from different time periods showed clear differences in pre- and post-emancipation preference and access to foodstuffs.

September 2, 2020

Do You Know What This Is? Cups, Plates, and Other Ceramics

Dr. Mary Furlong-Minkoff, Curator of Archaeological Collections
The Montpelier Foundation

Part of the “Do You Know What this is?” Series, Dr. Minkoff Mary Furlong Minkoff goes through some of the tips and tricks for identifying archaeological artifacts. This talk focuses on archaeologists’ favorite artifact: Ceramics!

Update on the Digitization of the Main House Restoration

Dr. Matthew Reeves, Director of Archaeology and Landscape Restoration
The Montpelier Foundation

Montpelier’s archaeology and architectural department received a grant from the Institute for Museum Library Services to digitize the investigations at the Montpelier main house that led to the restoration of the Madison home. These six years of investigations resulted in a gold mine of information that has remained archived and inaccessible. We are working with the University of Arkansas to develop a 3-D model for the main house that will allow for a virtual exploration of these restored spaces. Join Matthew Reeves as he showcases this model in GIS to illustrate how this digital database will work!

August 5, 2020

The Temple, Part 2

Christopher Pasch, Archaeology Crew Chief
The Montpelier Foundation

Chris Pasch, Archaeology Crew Chief, discusses his Master’s Thesis about the Temple and icehouse at Montpelier. 

June 5, 2020

Outliers: Looking at Human Behavior Patterns through Vesselization and GIS

Hannah James, Archaeology Technician
The Montpelier Foundation

Geographic Information Systems have been critical in our efforts to explore and analyze the Montpelier landscape. But it is also a useful tool as we conduct vesselization of ceramics across the historic core at Montpelier. In this presentation, Hannah James shows how this tool helps with this process.

July 8, 2020

Unruly Bodies, Holistic Healing: Balancing the Understanding of the Health and Healing Practices of the Enslaved at James Madison's Montpelier

Taylor Brown, Archaeology Technician
The Montpelier Foundation

Medicine is rarely neutral or objective. This was especially true in the 19th century, as physicians worked to encode slavery in the very biology of the Black body. The accounting logs of President Madison’s physician paint a one-sided picture of the health and healing practices of the enslaved community at Montpelier. These logs argue that the Black body was unruly and needed to be monitored and controlled by an outside force. To provide a more holistic picture of medical treatment, this study examines pharmaceutical and water tonic bottles, floral and faunal remains, and personal adornment items that speak to the day-to-day practices enslaved individuals employed to care for their own bodies. Overall, this perspective serves to draw important connections between past and present by challenging the idea that medicine was only practiced by white physicians and deconstructing the myth of the unruly Black body that persists in medicalized racism today.

July 8, 2020

Paperless Archaeology

Dr. Terry P. Brock, Assistant Director of Archaeology
The Montpelier Foundation

Assistant Director of Archaeology Terry Brock talks with the Lunch and Learn crowd about our implementation of paperless recording in the field: what some of the drawbacks of paper recording are, why paperless can help address those challenges, and then what some of the new challenges we’ve faced in getting a new paperless system on board has been.

June 25, 2020

The Temple, Part 1

Christopher Pasch, Archaeology Crew Chief
The Montpelier Foundation

Chris Pasch describes his thesis research for Montpelier Archaeology’s weekly Virtual Lunches! A brief presentation that summarized the research within Chris Pasch’s M.A. thesis: Enslaved Below the Temple of Liberty. Specifically, this presentation will cover the previously hidden and poorly understood story of the enslaved community’s experience in conducting ice house labor; from the creation of the landscape infrastructure to harvesting the ice itself. We will also discuss how we can use multiple lines of historical and archaeological evidence to explore the ways those enslaved individuals and groups likely perceived the Temple and ice house. Using the Temple Landscape as an example, this will provide an opportunity to critically reflect on the appearance of all spaces around us, how they are presented, and the importance of memory and place.

June 5, 2020

The Portico

Dr. Matthew Reeves, Director of Archaeology and Landscape Restoration
The Montpelier Foundation

Digging the Portico– May 20th: Matt Reeves will give a presentation on the excavations under the Front Portico that we conducted in 2004-2006. We found thousands of pounds of brick rubble from the columns being trimmed and evidence for the Madison-era grade. There was critical information here for restoring the front landscape and Portico. Those of you helping us with our digital paperwork project, this will help give you the bigger picture of your work!

May 20, 2020

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