Archaeology Reports and Publications


The Montpelier Archaeology Department has conducted numerous archaeological investigations across the Montpelier property since the mid-1980s. Below, you will find links and citations for archaeological site reports, object reports, publications, presentations, and theses written about these investigations.

These publications are listed by site area, and then by type within those area groupings. An additional section discussing archaeological methods and public archaeology is also available. In some cases, these reports are not publicly available due to publication rights. In that case, please email to gain access to those publications.

Technical Reports

Technical reports are written at the conclusion of each excavation, and include reports on both the extent and results of the excavations, as well as the objects that are recovered. Below, these reports are organized by archaeological site, and then specific project areas within those sites. Please note: in some cases reports are outdated, as more recent excavations have been conducted. If you have trouble accessing a report, please contact

Main House and Grounds (44OR249)

The main house grounds includes excavations in and around the main Montpelier house, landscape excavations in the front and rear yards, excavations of domestic slave dwellings, yards, and outbuildings, and excavations of the stable quarter and stable yard.

Montpelier House Farm Complex (44OR333)

The House Farm includes a large area bounded by the Visitor Center, Chicken Mountain, and West Gate Road. It includes a number of site components including a large row of slave quarters, tobacco barns, an overseer’s house, and a possible blacksmith shop, all dating to the first half of the 19th century.

Mount Pleasant Site

The Mount Pleasant site is the earliest occupied European American site at Montpelier. It includes the original homesite of the Madison Family, occupied in the 1720s. It also includes a series of overseer homes from the 18th and 19th centuries and the Madison family cemetery.

Gilmore Cabin and Civil War Encampments

The Civil War and Post Emancipation Landscape is primarily located across Route 20, and includes large Confederate Civil War encampments from the winter of 1863-1864 and the Gilmore Farm, a post-emancipation African American homestead that was in operation from ca. 1870 to the early 20th century.

Publications and Presentations

The Montpelier Archaeology Department includes active researchers and scholars who participate regularly in the production of published manuscripts, articles, book chapters, and presentations at professional conferences. Below are selected citations and presentations, grouped by primary topic. Due to publishing rights, not all papers are available. Please email if you are having trouble accessing an article!

Reeves, M. B. (2015). Scalar Analysis of Early Nineteenth-Century Household Assemblages: Focus on Communities of the African Atlantic. In K. R. Fogle, J. A. Nyman, & M. C. Beaudry (Eds.), Beyond the Walls. Gainseville, Florida: University Press of Florida.
Reeves, M. B. (2014). Mundane or Spiritual? The Interpretation of Glass Bottle Containers Found on Two Sites of the African Diaspora (pp. 1–13). Akinwumi Ogundiran and Paula Saunders (Eds). Materialities of Ritual in the Black Atlantic. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Reeves, M. B., & Greer, M. (2012). Within View of the Mansion-Comparing and Contrasting Two Early Nineteenth-Century Slave Households at James Madison's Montpelier. Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology, 28, 1–13.
Reeves, M. B. (2014). Home is Where the Woods Are. In C. R. Geier, D. D. Scott, & L. E. Babits (Eds.), An Analysis of a Civil War Camp Complex in Virginia (pp. 141–158). Gainseville: University of Florida Press.
Reeves, M. B., & Geier, C. R. (2006). Under the Forest Floor. In Huts and History (pp. 1–22). Geier, C.R., Orr, D.G., and Reeves, M.B. (Eds).
Montpelier Manuscripts
Reeves, M. B. (2013). A Brief History of the Montpelier Landscape-revised. Montpelier Station, VA: Manuscript, The Montpelier Foundation, Montpelier Archaeology Department.
Trickett, M.A. (2017) Archaeology Sites at James Madison's Montpelier. Montpelier Station, VA: Manuscript, The Montpelier Foundation, Montpelier Archaeology Department.
Smith, J. H. (2017). Adorned Identities: An Archaeological Perspective on Race and Self-Presentation in 18th-Century Virginia. Doctoral Thesis. Knoxville, TN.
Copperstone, C. (2014). Labor, Status and Power: Slave Foodways at James Madison's Montpelier AD 1810-1836. Master Thesis. The University of Arizona.
Chapman, C.T. (2005). Who Was Buried in James Madison's Grave? A Study in Contextual Analysis. Masters Thesis. The College of William and Mary.

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