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Slavery & Archaeology at Stratford

February 28, 2015, 9:30am - February 28, 2015, 11:45am

Stratford Hall

$10 adult, Friends of Stratford: Free Enslaved African Americans comprised over 90% of the population at Stratford Hall Plantation during the 18th and 19th centuries. Yet we know surprisingly little of these Americans based on historic documents alone. Archaeological research at Stratford has proven to be a powerful means of gaining access to the lives and working conditions of slaves. Professor Douglas Sanford from the Department of Historic Preservation at the University of Mary Washington will use a mixture of a PowerPoint presentation-based lecture and a guided walking tour of the sites and areas associated with African-American slavery at Stratford. Attendees should wear comfortable walking shoes. Audience members will be encouraged to ask questions and participate in a discussion of what archaeologists have learned of African-American slaves’ personal possessions, their domestic life and housing, and their relation to Stratford’s evolving landscape and economy. The discussion will place Stratford’s history of slavery within the broader context of Virginia plantations and the American South, while also connecting to modern descendants of Stratford’s African American slaves. About the speaker: Douglas W. Sanford, Professor of Historic Preservation, earned a Ph.D. (1995) and an M.A. (1987) in anthropology from the University of Virginia, an M.A. (1979) in American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. (1974) in anthropology from the College of William and Mary. Dr. Sanford has conducted archaeological research in Brazil, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and within Virginia at the Yorktown Battlefield, Monticello, and in the Northern Neck area. In 2007, Dr. Sanford led a National Endowment for the Humanities grant project concerning slave housing in Virginia ( He recently received an award of a semester sabbatical from UMW to research slave housing in the Chesapeake region and the archaeology of slave-related African-American sites in Virginia. Prior projects include archaeological research and historic preservation services conducted for the City of Fredericksburg, Prince William County, Richmond County, Dahlgren Naval Surface Warfare Center, and Stratford Hall Plantation. Among Dr. Sanford’s professional publications are “Historical Archaeology and Theoretical Excursions in the Middle Atlantic Region” in the Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology and “The Archaeology of Plantation Slavery in Piedmont Virginia: Context and Process” in the book Historical Archaeology of the Chesapeake. In addition, Dr. Sanford contributed the article “Slave Housing” to The World of Slave: Encyclopedia of the Material Life of Slaves in the United States (2011). Much of the information for his article developed out of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant project co-headed by Dr. Sanford. Dr. Sanford’s doctoral thesis was “The Archaeology of Plantation Slavery at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello: Context and Process in an American Slave Society.”

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Join us tonight, 7 PM at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library in downtown Fredericksburg for our "Reading Lee" lecture series with Elizabeth Varon. Our Executive Director, Paul Reber recently wrote about her new book in our staff blog: (2 photos) ...

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Please take the time to vote at for Stratford Hall! In the survey, please go to the Eastern Region. While we are eligible for several categories, we suggest you vote for Stratford Hall as the 2015 Best Historic Site (#16 on the ballot) in the Eastern Region. Hurry, voting ends today, we thank you for your support! (3 photos) ...

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