Red Hill Archaeology

Have you ever wondered what else remains to be discovered under the red soil of these grounds? What other stories might be uncovered? Red Hill is now looking into these questions with on-site archaeological research!

Read about our 2023 fieldwork here

Red Hill archaeology started this summer with an investigation of an area where a house stood during Lucy Harrison’s ownership of the property in the early 20th century. Maps and aerial photographs from Red Hill’s archives were put into a GIS mapping system to help us locate the site of these structures, a few hundred feet northwest of the Henry House. This was one of several houses rented by sharecroppers and their families in the first half of the 20th century. Excavation on this site aimed to uncover any artifacts or building remains that could teach us more about life at Red Hill during that time.

Archaeologists and volunteers dug three 5×5 ft. square test units, with one revealing a deep layer of disturbed soil – an indication that a large feature was dug into the ground and filled back in. Artifacts from this site included bricks, brick fragments, glass, nails, ceramic, some prehistoric lithics, two metal hooks, a few buttons, a bottle neck with a glass stopper, a sink drain, and several unidentified metal objects. Future analysis in Red Hill’s new archaeology lab will provide more data on these artifacts.

After reaching undisturbed subsoil in the test units, we turned our efforts towards conducting a shovel test pit survey along the western side of the historic grounds, with additional testing around the servant’s house site to discover more about the deep feature in the first unit. The shovel test pit survey involves digging small pits along evenly spaced intervals to give us an idea of what the soil and artifacts look like across a larger area. This will be useful for informing future excavations and continuing to understand the changes in Red Hill’s architectural landscape.

Get involved!

Digging deeper into Red Hill’s history requires some extra hands, which is why we have volunteer opportunities open to anyone interested in participating in archaeology. During the summer, volunteers help with excavation, while in the winter, they assist with artifact processing. Equipment and guidance from archaeologists are provided. Whether you come to help for a single day or volunteer on a weekly basis, you’ll have the chance to engage hands-on with history and help uncover more of Red Hill’s story.

Starting in December, opportunities will be available to volunteer in Red Hill’s new archaeology lab! Volunteers will help clean artifacts and get them ready for storage. If you’re interested in volunteering in the lab, please contact Lucia Butler, staff archaeologist (lucia@redhill.org) at least one day in advance. Schedules with available volunteer dates can be found below.

For any questions about Red Hill’s archaeology or getting involved, please call 434-376-2044 or email lucia@redhill.org.

FAQ’S

ARCHAEOLOGY SCHEDULE