Seeking out clues in the ground to what George Mason's plantation landscape once looked like is the task of the Gunston Hall archaeology program. Uncovering colonial garden features, roads, fences, outbuildings, and slave quarters are some of the ongoing projects.
For information on volunteer opportunities, please visit this link.
Gunston Hall's Archaeology Program
Little information has come down to us concerning what George Mason's landscape may have looked like. Seeking out clues in the ground allow for the replication of what Mason saw when he stepped outside of his house. This vision is the task of the Gunston Hall archaeology program.
While much has been learned over the past decade about the landscape created by George Mason, many mysteries remain in the ground. Virtually self-sustaining, the colonial plantation made or grew almost everything needed to support its operations and its inhabitants. Yet we do not know where on the plantation these things were done. John Mason mentioned something like 30 outbuildings in the area of the mansion. The locations of almost all of them remain unknown. Then there are the fences and gates, roadways, walkways and planting that helped define the landscape inhabited by George Mason and his family. No less important are the clues that the earth may still hold concerning the lives of the enslaved people that lived at Gunston Hall. George Mason owned approximately 90 slaves, yet almost nothing is known about them. Clearly, much remains to be done in the years to come by archaeologists at Gunston Hall.
Archaeology at Gunston Hall is about more than digging. It is also about sharing. It is important to us that archaeology be part of our overall public presentation. We want to share with our visitors not only the findings of archaeology, but also the process of archaeology.
The next time you visit Gunston Hall, please do stop by our "digs." The archaeologists will enjoy talking to you about what they are doing and listening to any insights that you may have about what they are finding.
Archaeology Reports and Documents