LUMPKIN’S JAIL PROJECT, 2008
City of Richmond, VA
What is the Signifcance of What We Found?
The Lumpkin’s Slave Jail site is among the most extensive urban excavations yet conducted in Virginia, and has the potential to add considerably to our understanding of Richmond’s critical role in the slave trade in the decades prior to the Civil War. Over the coming months, JRIA will prepare a final report on the results of the investigation. The analysis and interpretation of all the various strands of evidence—including architectural elements, artifacts, dietary remains, and soil chemistry—will help us to better understand how people used this site over time. The evidence recovered will allow us to address a number of important research questions:
-    • What were conditions like for the enslaved people who were held here?
-    • How were different areas of the property used by Lumpkin, his family, and      his clients for personal and business matters?
-    • How was the site transformed from a slave-trading business to an      educational institution after the Civil War?
-    • How does Lumpkin’s Jail site compare with other contemporaneous urban      slave-trading archaeological sites?
What Will Happen to the Site?
Now that the current phase of excavation has been completed, the site will be carefully backfilled to preserve the surviving features. The City of Richmond will then determine the most appropriate use of the site.
What Will Happen to the Artifacts?
The Lumpkin’s Jail Site is located on property owned by the City of Richmond, so all artifacts retrieved from the site belong to the City. The artifacts retrieved from the site will be permanently curated in a state-of-the-art archival storage facility operated by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. The most significant of these artifacts will be made available for public display in permanent and/or traveling museum exhibits.
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