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 investigation of the Servant's House site

Red Hill archaeology started in Summer 2023 with an investigation of an area where a servant’s 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 Geographic Information System to help us locate the site of this structure, 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. Archived letters were discovered later in the excavation which showed that when the building was demolished in 1961, its foundation was also removed and reused in the restoration project. 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. A 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.

Artifacts from the servant’s house site included bricks, brick fragments, glass, nails, ceramic, some prehistoric lithics, two metal hooks, buttons, a bottle neck with a glass stopper, a sink drain, and several unidentified metal objects. These artifacts were taken to Red Hill’s archaeology lab where staff and volunteers spent the winter and spring cleaning, labeling, and packaging them for storage.

“Archaeology of a Servant’s House” Virtual Lecture

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. Volunteers help with excavation during the summer, while they assist with artifact processing in the winter. Equipment and guidance from archaeologists are provided. Whether you come to help for a single day or volunteer weekly, you’ll have the chance to engage hands-on with history and help uncover more of Red Hill’s story.

In Summer 2024, opportunities will be available to volunteer for fieldwork! Our team will be investigating the original site of Henry’s law office. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact Lucia Butler, staff archaeologist (lucia@redhill.org), at least one day in advance. Schedules with available volunteer dates can be found below. If it is your first time volunteering for archaeological fieldwork at Red Hill, please review, sign, and submit the acknowledgement of risk and release form in the link below.

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

FAQ’S

Acknowledgement of Risk and Release Form

Volunteer Schedule