Since 2010, JRIA has completed all levels of archaeological projects at Fort Monroe, including Phase IA archaeological assessments, Phase I archaeology survey, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) surveys, Phase II archaeological investigations, and Phase III archaeological data recovery. JRIA has extensive experience consulting with the various regulatory and historic preservation entities associated with projects at Fort Monroe, including the Fort Monroe Authority (FMA), the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR), and the National Park Service (NPS). During the course of these projects, JRIA has worked with various state and federal agencies to secure the necessary permissions for ground-disturbing archaeological projects at Fort Monroe, including Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) permits for testing on federally-controlled property, and permits for archaeological field investigation on state-controlled land from the DHR.
Terreplein excavation, Building 22
Located in Surry County, Virginia, Bacon’s Castle, a National Historic Landmark, was constructed ca. 1669 and is the oldest brick dwelling in North America. Known in the 18th century as Arthur Allen’s Brick House, the house and the surrounding 40 acres are the property of Preservation Virginia. As an archaeologist with the Virginia Research Center for Archaeology, Nicholas Luccketti first surveyed Bacon’s Castle in 1976 and has directed every subsequent archaeological project at Bacon’s Castle including the discovery of a large remarkably well-preserved 17th-century garden. JRIA also recently completed an archaeological investigation of the early 19th-century smokehouse at Bacon’s Castle.
Colonial kitchen chimney base
In 2014, JRIA conducted a preliminary archaeological investigation of a portion of the Grand Contraband Camp, an African-American settlement occupied between 1861 and the period shortly after the end of the Civil War. The project was conducted on behalf of the City of Hampton in conjunction with the Hampton History Museum. The projected included the mechanical stripping of three test areas, encompassing approximately 2,068 square feet. JRIA identified and documented more than 170 archaeological features within the testing areas, partially excavating 14 of them to determine their potential date and historical association with the Grand Contraband Camp period. JRIA also conducted intensive documentary research on the historic use and ownership of the property, and oral history interviews of Contraband descendants.
Based on the results of the preliminary archaeological investigation, JRIA recorded the Grand Contraband Camp site with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources as Site 44HT0119. JRIA presented the results of the investigation to Hampton’s Mayor and City Council, and hosted a site “open house” in conjunction with the Hampton History Museum.
Open house event interpretive signage
Beginning in 2016, JRIA assisted Dominion Energy Virginia to complete Phase I, II, and III archaeological investigations of a group of historic archaeological sites within the footprint of the Surry Dredged Material Management Area (DMMA) in Surry County, Virginia. This project required intensive coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Virginia Department of Historic Resources, development of a Memorandum of Agreement, a research design for archaeological mitigation, and a permit for the excavation and reburial of six sets of human remains. JRIA has continued to assist Dominion Energy Virginia with the public dissemination of information, including public presentations, interpretive signage, and an artifact exhibit.
17th c. saw pit
JRIA began long-term archaeological research at Mount Pleasant in Surry County in the summer of 2001. Mount Pleasant was first settled by the English in 1620 as a plantation called Pace’s Paines. By the 18th century it belonged to the Cocke family, most notably John Hartwell Cocke, the builder of Bremo. The current owners wished to restore the plantation to its appearance ca. 1800, though the only surviving structure from that time is the main house. JRIA was employed to conduct historical research, and archaeological surveys and excavations to locate features contemporary with the house, as well as earlier archaeological remains. JRIA conducted a complete survey of approximately 300 acres, and identified the main site of the 1620 Pace’s Paines settlement, the core site, three post-in-the-ground buildings dating to ca. 1670-1730, and two probable 18th-century quarter sites. More intensive testing in the yard immediately surrounding the house uncovered a late 17th century cellar which may have been a store, two first-period dependencies dating to ca. 1730, four second-period dependencies dating to ca. 1800, and the remains of a formal terraced garden with unusual rectangular planting beds and border beds. JRIA also excavated the late 17th-century store and ca. 1800 kitchen and smokehouse prior to their reconstruction.
Excavation of 17th c. tobacco barn
Between December 2005 and April 2006, JRIA conducted a preliminary historical and archaeological investigation of the former site of “Lumpkin’s Jail,” an antebellum slave trading compound located in the Shockoe Bottom district of Richmond, Virginia. The site was later used as a religious school for freed African-Americans, and was the precursor to Virginia Union University. The project was performed on behalf of the City of Richmond, the Richmond Slave Trail Commission, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and the Alliance to Conserve Old Richmond Neighborhoods.
The 2006 investigations yielded evidence of deeply buried cultural layers and features associated with the jail complex. JRIA subsequently drafted a data recovery and treatment plan, and conducted archaeological data recovery at the site between August and December 2008. In the course of the excavation, JRIA uncovered an incredibly intact and well-preserved urban landscape associated with Lumpkin’s mid-nineteenth-century complex, buried beneath 8-15 feet of fill material. The Lumpkin’s Slave Jail site is among the most extensive urban excavations yet conducted in Virginia, and the results of this project has added considerably to the understanding Richmond’s critical role in the slave trade in the decades prior to the Civil War, as well as to the scholarly interpretation of the archaeology of urban captivity.
Over the course of the project, JRIA has worked with the project partners to share the results of the investigation with the Richmond community, organizing site tours, working with student volunteers, assisting with the production of interpretive displays, and lecturing at a variety of institutions, including the Virginia Historical Society, Virginia Union University, and the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. JRIA has also assisted in the production of numerous print and broadcast media stories on the project.
In 2015-2016, JRIA Senior Researcher, Dr. Matthew R. Laird, played an integral role in “Richmond Speaks,” the public outreach initiative spearheaded by Richmond mayor Dwight Jones which has solicited city-wide opinion on the interpretive and international tourism potential of the site. As part of this initiative, Dr. Laird has spoken to thousands of Richmond residents and met with students in each of Richmond’s high schools. The Lumpkin’s Jail project has figured prominently in local, national, and international media stories.
Lumpkin's Slave Jail, 19th c. engraving
Carter’s Grove, a National Historic Landmark, is one of the classic James River plantation mansions. Completed between the years 1753-1755, the Georgian mansion with a falling garden overlooks the James River on land purchased by Robert “King” Carter in the early 18th century. Since 2016, JRIA has undertaken numerous archaeological investigations and monitoring of extensive improvements made to the grounds by the current owner.
Colonial terraced garden
The Miles Brewton House, built ca. 1769, is a National Historic Landmark. A “double house,” it was the headquarters for Sir Henry Clinton when the British occupied Charleston in 1780. Architectural historians acknowledge that the Miles Brewton House is the finest example of a Georgian townhouse in the United States. JRIA had been conducting archaeological excavations at the Miles Brewton House since 2016.
Miles Brewton House, ca. 1769
JRIA was contracted by Dominion Lands, Inc., to conduct a Phase I archaeological survey of 1,440 acres for a proposed residential development at the confluence of the James and Chickahominy rivers in order to the meet requirements for Corps of Engineers permits and proffers to James City County. JRIA identified 94 historic and prehistoric archaeological sites on the property.
Phase II evaluations were then conducted on 26 sites which would be impacted by construction. These included Archaic and Woodland camps and procurement areas, a Late Woodland village site, English settlement sites dating to the 1620s, and colonial and antebellum tenant and slave quarter sites. Phase III data recovery excavations were conducted at the primary 1620 English settlement site, a ca. 1660 tenant/indentured servant site, a ca. 1680 slave quarter, two late 18th-/early 19th- century quarter sites, two early 19th-century quarter/tenant sites, and part of the Late Woodland Pasbehay Indian village (44JC0308). The Pasbehay Indian village excavation consisted of data recovery on approximately three acres and included the excavation and documentation of 44 Native American structures and 18 burials. The data recovery excavations were conducted in consultation with the Virginia Council on Indians, representatives of the Nansemond Tribe, and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Information obtained by the data recovery excavations at 44JC0308, particularly details of structures, was used as the principal guide in the recreation of a Late Woodland village at Jamestowne Settlement. The skeletal remains from the burials at 44JC0308 were analyzed by physical anthropologists, and later were re-interred near the village site in a special observance attended by representatives of several Indian tribes, the first of its kind in Virginia.
Test unit excavation
JRIA has conducted numerous archaeological investigations at the Adam Thoroughgood House on behalf of the City of Virginia Beach. Long thought to be one of the oldest houses in English-speaking America, recent scholarship has demonstrated that it most likely dates to the early 18th century. Nonetheless, it is still one of the earliest surviving houses in Virginia, and is a National Historic Landmark.
Exploratory test unit
Archaeological data recovery of the future Old Point National Bank headquarters in downtown Hampton, Virginia