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 and an earlier kitchen 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. The kitchen, which stood at that location at least as early as 1906, burned down in 1928 and a new structure, labeled on maps as a Servant’s House, was built in its place. 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 kitchen/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.

Come dig with us!

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 dig with us 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.

If you’re interested in volunteering with Red Hill’s archaeology program, please sign the Acknowledgement of Risk and Release form below and email a scanned copy to Lucia Butler, Archaeologist, at, along with the upcoming date(s) from the schedule that you would like to sign up for. Please be sure to let us know that you’re coming at least one day in advance of your chosen date(s). 

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


Acknowledgement of Risk and Release