|Location:||Holladay/Ridley Tract, Capron, VA, United States|
|Occupation Dates:||Late 18th- to early 19th-century. Phasing and mean ceramic dates can be found on the Chronology page.|
|Excavator(s):||Dr. Theodore R. Reinhart.|
|Dates excavated:||May to August 1986.|
The Pope site (44SN180) was located approximately three miles west of Capron, Virginia, in Southampton County, along U.S. Route 58. The archaeological remains represent a rural, late eighteenth- to early nineteenth-century farmstead. Prominent features include a large brick and cob foundation and cellar of a frame house, two post-in-ground structures with cellars, and an outbuilding (Reinhart 1987:3,112).
The Pope site was identified in early 1986 during a Phase I survey conducted by Lyle Browning, a VDOT archaeologist, in advance of highway construction. Phase II and III surveys were subsequently conducted at the site by archaeologists from the College of William and Mary between May and August 1986 (Reinhart 1987:7).
Based on Southampton County deed books, by 1786, the area including the Pope site was completely out of Native American ownership, when Thomas Ridley purchased land from John Holladay and James Ridley. Between 1785 and 1815, Ridley owned from 20 to 39 enslaved individuals. Upon his death in 1815, Thomas Ridley’s property passed to his son, Francis. Francis Ridley owned the Pope site until 1879 and owned nearly 3500 acres and upwards of 125 slaves (Reinhart 1987:103-110).
While Southampton County was the scene of one of America’s most bloody slave uprisings, Nat Turner’s rebellion in July 1831, there is no evidence that the Pope site or its inhabitants were involved (Reinhart 1987:108-109).
Excavation history, procedure and methods
The Phase II survey of the Pope site consisted of a systematic shovel test survey. A 350 x 125 foot grid was laid across the site. The grid consisted of quadrants measuring 25 x 25 feet, fourteen quadrants long and five wide, for a total of seventy STP’s. A single STP was placed at the center of each quadrant and was dug to subsoil. All sediment was screened through ¼-inch hardware cloth (Reinhart 1987:13).
Based on features found during the Phase II survey, the Pope site was determined to be an important part of early Southampton County history. Because the site was in the path of proposed highway construction, a complete excavation of the site was conducted. The plowzone was mechanically removed to reveal 246 features intruding subsoil; the most significant being those related to three structures and multiple fencelines. The topsoil and plowzone removed by the gradall was discarded without screening. Most features were sectioned in halves or quarters, profiles were drawn, then completely excavated. The cellars were divided into quadrants, with the southeast quarter excavated first. The sediment directly above the cellar floors was removed separately, otherwise, the features were excavated in natural layers. Large postholes and pits were sectioned in half, with the southern portion excavated first (Reinhart 1987:14-15).
Except for Feature 7, all the features at the Pope site were screened through ¼-inch hardware cloth. The decision not to screen Feature 7 was based on the high-frequency, low-analytical value of brick fragments, the large size of the feature, and the low density of other types of artifacts (Reinhart 1987:15-16,18).
Summary of research and analysis
Three dwellings and an outbuilding were identified at the Pope site. The most substantial dwelling, Structure 1 on the site map, was a frame building with a brick and cob foundation, and cellar; all subsumed under Feature 7 (DAACS feature number F007). The foundation hole measured roughly 16 foot square. Evidence for a chimney base was found in the northeast corner of Feature 7. A line of posts just north of the cellar could have supported a porch. Based on the number of artifacts, the cellar was most likely not used as a trash depository and when Feature 7 was no longer inhabited, the site was abandoned (Reinhart 1987:28,31).
Some sixty feet to the southeast of F007 was one of two post-in-ground dwellings, Structure 2 on the site map. The structure was composed of a cellar (F001) and its associated postholes. The building measured 16 x 12 feet with a 5-foot porch or shed on the south side. The structure was torn down as opposed to being burnt down and the cellar remained open for some time after the destruction of the house (Reinhart 1987:31,38).
One hundred and twenty feet east of F001 was the second earthfast dwelling, Structure 4 on the site map. The archaeological remains of this structure consist of a cellar (F005) and its associated postholes. This building also measured 16 x 12 feet. This cellar was also used as a trash pit after its destruction. The trash was concentrated on the west side of the cellar indicating that this structure occupied the eastern edge of the site (Reinhart 1987:38-39,45).
The outbuilding (F053 and Structure 3 on the site map) was located thirty-seven feet east of F001 and seventy-five feet west of F005. It measured 8 x 7 feet and had a large, irregular patch of burnt sediment in its center. Feature 53 was tentatively identified as a smokehouse by its excavators. This identification is based on the burnt area in the center of the floor combined with the lack of evidence suggesting the structure itself burned. In addition, the building’s small size and limited quantity of domestic artifacts added to this conclusion (Reinhart 1987:45-46,52).
Two pits to the east of F053 were probably associated with exterior activity areas. Feature 19 (6.5 x 3.5 feet) and Feature 21 (6.75 x 3.5 feet) were both a foot or less deep (Reinhart 1987:52,55).
In addition to structures, the other major archaeological features consist of multiple fencelines constructed at various times during the site’s occupation. Three north-south fencelines were designated by DAACS as Feature Groups 04, 07, and 10. And the three east-west fencelines were designated FG05, 08, and 09. The north-south fencelines all had trees growing along the line and they may have served as posts. Fenceline FG10 is probably the oldest of the north-south lines. The posts lacked molds indicating they were removed and the few artifacts recovered points to its removal prior to the construction of Structure 2 (DAACS FG01). Fenceline FG07 was built after FG10, along the edge of FG01. The low frequency of artifacts recovered from the posts indicate a contemporaneous construction with FG01. And the large amount of artifacts recovered from FG04 point to a construction date late in the site’s history (Reinhart 1987:56-63).
Two of the east-west fencelines (FG08 and FG09) were located on the east side of the site, between the two post-in-ground dwellings. Feature Group 08 was the earlier of the two and three of its posts were most likely destroyed by the construction of the two dwellings and outbuilding. It definitely predates the outbuilding (Feature 053) due to the fact that the fenceline would have run through the structure. Feature Group 09 was built after FG08, probably as a replacement, and possibly served to separate activity areas, as features 19 and 21 are located on either side of it. The third east-west fenceline was located on the southwest edge of the site and may have been partially destroyed by FG01. It was composed of square posts except for two round posts at a close interval (DAACS features F041F and F041G) that probably indicate the location of a gate (Reinhart 1987:56-63).
Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery
Things you need to know about the Pope site before you use the data:
- Measurements are in feet and tenths of feet.
- Topsoil and plowzone were mechanically stripped and not screened.
- Photos on the Site Images page courtesy of the Theodore R. Reinhart Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, The College of William and Mary.
- Some postholes on the site map are represented schematically. The excavators’ site map shows the location of these postholes but not their shape. The postholes’ context records record their dimensions but DAACS has not been able to locate plan drawings of the postholes. As a result, DAACS has chosen to represent these postholes as boxes with the appropriate dimensions and locations.
- Due to the topsoil and plowzone being stripped, a large number of contexts/features do not appear on the Harris matrix because no stratigraphic relationship exists between those contexts and any other deposit.
The original excavators of the Pope Site assigned numbers to individual features and their associated contexts. Their feature numbering system is the same one used by DAACS: a F-prefix is placed before the feature number (F001 refers to Feature 1).
Excavated contexts that belong to the same depositional basin (e.g. a posthole and postmold or the layers in a single pit) were given a single feature number (i.e. F022 contains the following feature contexts: F22/S/1 and F22/S/2). In addition, single contexts were given feature numbers when the original field records indicate that the excavators recognized a context’s spatial distinctiveness from surrounding contexts.
Feature groups are sets of features whose spatial arrangements indicate they were part of a single structure (e.g. structural postholes, subfloor pits, and hearth) or landscape element (e.g. postholes that comprise a fenceline). Feature Groups were not assigned by the original excavators. However, feature groups have been assigned by DAACS and they carry a FG-prefix, which precedes the number (i.e. FG01 equals Feature Group 1).
|F001||Cellar||F1/2, F1/NE/P, F1/NE/1, F1/NE/2, F1/NE/3, F1/NE/4, F1/NW, F1/NW/1, F1/NW/2, F1/NW/3, F1/NW/4, F1/SE/2, F1/SE/1, F1/SE/3, F1/SW/1, F1/SW/2, F1/SW/3, F1/SW/4, F1/1|
|F002||Posthole||F2/1, F2/3, F2/N/1, F2/N/2, F2/S/1, F2/S/2|
|F003||Posthole||F3/N/2, F3/N/3, F3/S/1|
|F006||Posthole||F6/S/1, F6/S/2, F6/S/3, F6/N/1, F6/N/2|
|F010||Posthole||F10/N/3, F10/S/1, F10/S/2, F10/N/1, F10/N/2|
|F015||Posthole||F15/S/1, F15/S/2, F15/N/1, F15/N/2, F15/1, F15/2|
|F016||Posthole||F16/S/1, F16/N/1A, F16/N/1B|
|F020||Posthole||F20/S/1, F20/S/2, F20/NE/1, F20/NE/2, F20/2|
|F023||Posthole||F23/S/3, F23/S/1, F23/S/2, F23/S/4|
|F005||Cellar||F5/1, F5/NE/2, F5/SE/1&2, F5/SE/3, F5/SE/W, F5/SW/1, F5/SW/2, F5/SW/3, F5/4, F5/NE/1, F5/NE/3, F5/NE/4, F5/NW/1, F5/NW/2, F5/NW/3, F5/NW/4|
|F009||Posthole||F9/N/2, F9/N/1, F9/S/1A, F9/S/1B, F9/S/2, F9/S/3|
|F012||Posthole||F12/S, F12/N/2, F12/3|
|F014||Posthole||F14/N/1, F14/N/2, F14/S/1, F14/S/2|
|F053||Cellar||F53/NE/P, F53/NE/F, F53/NE/1, F53/NE/2, F53/NE/3, F53/NW/1, F53/NW/2, F53/NW/3, F53/NW/4, F53/SE/1, F53/SE/2, F53/SE/3, F53/SW/1, F53/SW/2, F53/SW/4, F53/SW/3|
|F040E||Posthole, possible||F40E/1, F40E/2|
|F040F||Posthole, possible||F40F/1, F40F/2|
|F071F||Tree hole||F71F/1, F71F/2, F71F/3|
|F071P||Tree hole||F71P/1, F71P/2, F71P/3|
|F026||Posthole||F26/1, F26/2, F26/3|
|F004||Tree hole||F4/1, F4/S/1|
|F007||Cellar||F7/NE/2, F7/NE/3, F7/NE/4, F7/NE/5, F7/NW/1, F7/NW/2, F7/NW/3, F7/NW/4, F7/SE/1, F7/SE/2, F7/SE/3, F7/SW/1, F7/SW/2, F7/SW/3, F7/SW/4, F7/NE/1, F7/1, F7/SW/5, F7/SW/6|
|F019||Pit, unidentified||F19/S/1, F19/S/2, F19/N/1|
|F021||Pit, unidentified||F21/S/1, F21/N/1|
|F040J||Tree hole||F40J/1, F40J/2|
|F040M||Tree hole||F40M/1, F40M/2|
|F086||Tree hole||F86/1, F86/2, F86/3|
|F133||Posthole, possible||F133/1, F133/2|
Chronology is a necessary first step to wringing historical meaning from the archaeological record. Because the archaeological record is a contemporary phenomenon, time is an inferred dimension in archaeology. Here we present three different types of chronologies for the Pope site using methods we have developed to infer and evaluate archaeological chronologies for artifact assemblages included so far in DAACS.
The three different chronologies for the Pope site are described below. Chronologies for every archaeological site in DAACS are produced by DAACS staff using the same methods. As a result, DAACS chronologies are standardized and provide the best means for comparing data from multiple sites and regions.
Our choice of methods is driven by both theoretical and practical considerations. On the theory side, we are interested in placing assemblages as events in time so that we can chart trends in assemblage content – say the frequency of tea vessels – across multiple sites. However, assemblages are not instantaneous events. Assemblages accumulate over periods of time, usually decades. Some chronological methods in historical archaeology provide estimates of the mean of the assemblage temporal distribution, while others do not. Termini post and ante quem, the most commonly encountered methods, are estimates of the upper and lower extreme values of the assemblage temporal distribution, not its mean. They are therefore poorly suited to our purposes. Two methods, frequency seriation and mean ceramic dating, do offer estimates of temporal distribution means and we rely on them here. We do, however, provide TPQs in the following analyses.
Phase assignments, mean ceramic dates, and TPQs are generated using ceramic ware dates found on the Ceramic Ware and Mean-Ceramic-Date Types page in the About the Database section. If a site’s principal investigator produced a site chronology using different dates and methods, it is discussed on the site’s background page. DAACS users are also encouraged to explore the Mean Ceramic Date Queries for dating individual contexts, features, and stratigraphic groups.
Pope Site Phases
For each site, DAACS staff attempt to produce an intra-site chronology using seriation methods. The units in the seriation are ceramic assemblages from contexts with more than five sherds. Plowzone and topsoil contexts are excluded from this analysis. An initial seriation solution is derived using correspondence analysis of type frequencies in the assemblages. This order is then compared to an order derived from mean ceramic dates. If the orders are correlated, we assign assemblages – and the contexts and stratigraphic groups to which they belong – to phases based on their CA scores. Phases can be further evaluated by plotting them on a Harris Matrix (for details see Neiman, Galle and Wheeler 2003).
Based on the correspondence analysis, DAACS divided the Pope site occupation into 3 temporal phases. The ceramics from Feature 005, the cellar at Structure 4, comprise a large portion of the assemblage for Phase 1. P01 is dominated by colonoware, with Staffordshire Mottled and Westerwald contributing to the early date. Ceramic assemblages from F001 (cellar) and F002 (posthole) from Structure 2 and the ceramic assemblage from Feature 53, SG13 fall into Phase 2 (P02). Ceramics from Feature 007, the cellar at Structure 1, comprise Phase 03.
|Phase 1 (P01)||1762.4||1762||1700||1775||245|
|Phase 2 (P02)||1766.8||1775||1775||1775||191|
|Phase 3 (P03)||1789.3||1820||1775||1775||95|
Pope Site Mean Ceramic Date and TPQs Generated From Non-Topsoil/Plowzone Contexts
DAACS staff also produce a site-wide Mean Ceramic Date and TPQs using ceramic-ware types from all stratified, non-plowzone contexts at a given site. A total of 733 ceramic sherds from non-plowzone and non-topsoil contexts at the Pope site contributed to the following dates.
The Pope site’s Mean Ceramic Date of 1769.5 places the entire site’s occupation in the third quarter of the eighteenth century. Two other measures that are less sensitive to excavation errors and taphonomic processes that might introduce a small amount of anomalously late material into an assemblage were used. They are TPQp90 and TPQp95. The TPQp95 of 1775 provides a robust estimate of the site’s TPQ based on the 95th percentile of the beginning manufacturing dates for all the ceramics comprising it. The TPQp90 of 1762 provides a more robust estimate of the site’s TPQ based on the 90th percentile of the beginning manufacturing dates for all the ceramics comprising it.
|All Pope Site Contexts except Plowzone and Topsoil||1769.5||1830||1762||1775||773|
Pope Site Mean Ceramic Date and TPQs Generated From All Contexts
The Pope site had no plowzone or topsoil contexts since these stratigraphic layers were mechanically stripped prior to excavation. As a result, the MCD and TPQs that result from this analysis are identical to the MCD and TPQs generated in the previous section.
A Seriation Chronology for the Pope Site
Click on the following link to access a seriation chronology for the Pope site. We use the indefinite article to signify that it is not the only chronology possible, nor even the best one possible.
Pope Site (44SN180) Harris Matrix
The Harris Matrix summarizes stratigraphic relationships among excavated contexts and groups of contexts that DAACS staff has identified as part of the same stratigraphic group. Stratigraphic groups and contexts are represented as boxes, while lines connecting them represent temporal relationships implied by the site’s stratification, as recorded by the site’s excavators (Harris 1979).
Stratigraphic groups, which represent multiple contexts, are identified on the diagram by their numeric designations (e.g. SG05). Contexts that could not be assigned to stratigraphic groups are identified by their individual context numbers.
Boxes with color fill represent contexts and stratigraphic groups with ceramic assemblages large enough to be included in the DAACS seriation of the site (see Chronology). Their seriation-based phase assignments are denoted by different colors to facilitate evaluation of the agreement between the stratigraphic and seriation chronologies. Grey boxes represent contexts that were not included in the seriation because of small ceramic samples.
See the Pope site Chronology page for stratigraphic and phase information.
This Harris Matrix is based on data on stratigraphic relationships recorded among contexts in the DAACS database. It was drawn with the ArchEd application. See http://www.ads.tuwien.ac.at/arched/index.html.
For a printable version, download the Harris Matrix [323.08 KB PDF].
PDF of composite excavator’s plan, compiled by DAACS from original field drawings
PDF of composite excavator’s plan, compiled by DAACS from original field drawings, without feature numbers visible
Harris, Edward C.
1979 Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy. Academic Press, London, England.
Neiman, Fraser D., Jillian E. Galle , and Derek Wheeler
2003 Chronological Inference and DAACS. Unpublished paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Providence, Rhode Island. On file at the Department of Archaeology, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Reinhart, Theodore , Eric G. Ackermann , Barbara Davis , and Esther C. White
1987 Material Culture, Social Relations, And Spatial Organization On A Colonial Frontier: The Pope Site (44SN180), Southampton County, Virginia. Prepared for the Virginia Department of Transportation, 1221 E. Broad St. Richmond, VA 23219. 30 April 1987.