The Tidewater Virginia Historical Society and the Fairfield Foundation Team Up to Host New Quarter Park Public Archaeology Dig Oct. 10-11

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The public dig, which aims to unearth more details about the slave quarters of the Burwell family landholdings, is open to the public.

The Tidewater Virginia Historical Society (TVHS) and the Fairfield Foundation, with support from the Archaeological Society of Virginia, will hold two public archaeology dig days at New Quarter Park in York County, Oct. 10 and 11.

“This is an exciting opportunity for members of the public to learn about and participate in hands-on archaeology at an 18th-century site just outside of Williamsburg,” said Thane Harpole, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Fairfield Foundation, a Gloucester-based non-profit dedicated to archaeology, education and preservation.

“Archaeologists have explored many sites in the area, but often it is not possible to involve the public.”

The TVHS and the Fairfield Foundation are committed to sharing not just the results of their excavations, but also the process of discovering the past with the community.

“Working alongside professional archaeologists, members of the public will find out how our ancestors lived and what they left behind, and what this means for us today,” said Forrest Morgan, Vice President of the Board of Directors for the TVHS, formerly known as the Colonial Capital Branch of Preservation Virginia.

TVHS recently reorganized and in addition to helping host public archaeology digs is building an online museum trail to connect the community to the historical sites of all sizes throughout Tidewater, VA.

New Quarter Park was part of the vast landholdings of the powerful Burwell family during much of the 18th century.

Some of their nearby plantations, such as Carter’s Grove, Kingsmill, and Fairfield, have undergone extensive archaeological research. Less is known about the slave quarters, tenant houses, and other buildings that occupied New Quarter.

The initial work will focus in a small area where some previous digs uncovered colonial artifacts, and will involve archaeological survey, digging small shovel test pits, as well as the excavation of a larger test unit.

The excavations will take place in a wooded area, and will involve mildly strenuous activity such as digging and screening soil. Participants are encouraged to dress appropriately. Personal accessories, like gloves and hats, should be brought by each participant. All over excavation equipment will be provided.

Children between the ages of 4 and 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

Volunteers will be assigned to three-hour blocks in the morning or afternoon, and space is limited. Contact fairfield(at)fairfieldfondation(dot)org to sign up.

For more information about the TVHS, visit Learn more about the Fairfield Foundation Plantation and their other public archaeology opportunities at

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Stephanie Heinatz
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since: 08/2012
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