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City of Richmond, VA

Archaeological Excavations, 2008

Based on the findings of our 2006 archaeological investigations, JRIA recommended that more intensive excavations be conducted at the site of Lumpkin’s Slave Jail, an antebellum slave trading compound in Shockoe Bottom. With support from the City of Richmond, the Richmond Slave Trail Commission, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and A.C.O.R.N., JRIA conducted archaeological data recovery at the site between August and December 2008.

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What Did We Find?

In the course of the archaeological excavation, JRIA uncovered an incredibly intact and well-preserved urban landscape associated with Lumpkin’s complex, buried beneath 8-15 feet of fill material in the parking lot north of Main Street Station. Significant features included a large section of cobble-paved central courtyard, the brick foundations of the kitchen building, a massive brick retaining wall that divided the site into upper and lower terraces, as well as the foundations of the former jail building itself. The excavation also yielded thousands of artifacts, including ceramics, bottles, glasswares, animal bone, and many other everyday items discarded at the site throughout the nineteenth century. Damp soil conditions preserved many organic materials that normally would have degraded over time, such as leather shoes and wood.

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