A story currently on the University of Virginia’s news site, UVA Today, documents the work that Alison Bell, assistant professor of archaeology and anthropology at Washington and Lee, has done at U.Va.’s Morven Farm site. Here’s a link to the story.
Alison began her work at Morven when she was a graduate student at U.Va. Her Ph.D. thesis was on the “middling class” in Louisa County and, as writer Brevy Cannon’s piece on UVA Today, explains, she continues to study the tenant farmers who were on the property in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The archaeology record for this class is difficult to track, Alison said, because they lived so light on the land and little was left behind.
“What’s most lacking in Virginia’s social history is an understanding of these people who formed a very broad middle ground,” Alison said in the UVA Today piece. “It’s extremely hard to locate the material remains of people whose houses are gone.”
Alison’s work at Morven Farm has connections to W&L’s dig at Monticello, which began during last year’s spring term and will continue this month. That work is at the home site of Jefferson’s overseer, Edmund Bacon, which also represents an effort to understand how the non-elite European Americans lived during this period. Here’s a story about that project.