|Location:||Bedford County, Virginia|
|Excavator(s):||Dr. Barbara Heath, Dr. Eleanor Breen, Crystal Ptacek and students from The University of Tennessee|
|Dates excavated:||2011, 2012, and 2013|
The Wingo’s site (44BE0298) is located in Bedford County, Virginia and was once a 1,000 to 1,400-acre quarter farm, part of the approximately 5,000-acre Poplar Forest plantation. Today it sits on the western edge of a modern farm and is presently in pasture. In 2000 and 2001, archaeologists affiliated with The Corporation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest conducted testing to locate the site. They found a light scatter of historic artifacts in the southern portion of the 12-acre field where historic maps indicated the 18th-century Wingo’s quarter was located. From 2007 to 2012, archaeologists and students from the Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, conducted further excavations at the site. To date, 1.7 acres (approximately 10%) of the field have been tested. The remains of a single cabin and enclosed yard spaces were excavated. A total of 6,243 artifacts (excluding daub and a few other artifact types that were weighed), 4,498 faunal remains, and 4,668 seeds and plant parts have been collected and analyzed, along with 198 chemical samples from plow zone and subsoil sediments have been collected and analyzed to better understand the use of space by enslaved residents of the site in the late 18th century.
Poplar Forest was patented by William Stith in 1745, and passed to two other owners prior to 1764, when John Wayles acquired it (Chambers 1993:1-4). Wayles lived in Charles City County and used the property, along with others that he owned in piedmont Virginia, as an outlying quarter. He died in May of 1773, and within months of his death, his estate was under division, much of his land was up for sale, and the enslaved men, women, and children formerly in his possession were transferred to his heirs. Wayles’ oldest daughter, Martha Jefferson and her husband Thomas, came into possession of 135 enslaved people and land near the James and Appomattox Rivers stretching from modern day Powhatan to Bedford County. Among these holdings was Poplar Forest at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in what is today Bedford County, Campbell County, and the city of Lynchburg.
In January 1774, Jefferson made a list of the enslaved people that he had inherited including those at Wingo’s.
A Roll of the slaves of John Wayles which were allotted to T.J. in right of his wife on a division of the estate. Jan. 14. 1774 (Jefferson in Betts 1987: 7)
All of these people were recorded as “laborers in the ground” except for Mary who Jefferson recorded followed “some other occupation.” A second census for that year lists 10 adults over the age of 16 and 5 children living at Wingo’s, many from Wayles’ Indian Camp property in Cumberland County (Jefferson in Betts 1987:7, 16, Marmon 1991: 28).
Location of Slaves for 1774 (Jefferson in Betts 1987:7, 16,)
|Sarah||died July 1781|
These people were likely resident on the property by early spring of 1774. Additional information about the enslaved residents at Poplar Forest is included in a list of tithables taken in 1782 and a slave census from 1783 (VAN 1981; Jefferson in Betts 1987:24). Neither list distinguishes between the quarters at Wingo’s and a separate quarter in an area known as the “old plantation,” located near the later brick mansion house built for Jefferson in the early 19th-century (Heath 1999).
The site of Wingo’s is depicted, along with an overseer’s house, on a series of late 18th and early 19th-century maps and plats. John Wingo, a white overseer, managed the farm for only four years, and he was likely replaced by hired overseers or enslaved headmen, who oversaw operations until 1790. In that year, Jefferson gave the land and people living on it to his daughter and son-in-law, Martha and Thomas Mann Randolph, on the occasion of their marriage. He also gave them one family living “at the old plantation” (Boyd 1961:189-190).
The Randolphs gave the property to their daughter and son-in-law, Ann Cary and Charles Lewis Bankhead, in 1808. In 1811 they sold the Wingo’s portion of the property to Jefferson’s overseer, Joel Yancey, and local businessman and planter William Radford. The land on which Wingo’s was located probably ceased to operate as a quarter around this time. Today, the Wingo’s property is owned by Radford’s descendants.
Excavation history, methods, and procedures
In October 2000, Poplar Forest staff undertook a preliminary survey in a field adjacent to two springs feeding branches of Wolf Branch, a tributary of the James River. They excavated five north-south transects. Staff also conducted a metal detector sweep of the transects, moving both north-south and east-west along the established lines and covering a three-foot area centered on the transect lines. Positive hits were flagged and mapped, and a sample was excavated to ensure the accuracy of the hits.
Following testing, Poplar Forest staff excavated three judgmentally-placed 5 ft. x 5 ft. quadrats in the survey area in November of 2000 and September of 2001. Two of the quadrats contained a variety of prehistoric and 18th-century artifacts in plow zone. Later testing indicated the presence of a large prehistoric component to the site in plow zone, but no prehistoric features were discovered. The quantity and date ranges of the historic artifacts suggested their association with the Wingo’s quarter. No further excavations were conducted at Wingo’s from 2001 to the spring of 2007.
A team from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville conducted a geophysical survey using a Geo-Scan FM36 flux-gate gradiometer at the site in spring 2007. The survey covered an area measuring of 100 m east-west by 80 m north-south and including the portion of the site that had previously been tested. The results show a mosaic of large and small anomalies that reflects magnetism in the underlying bedrock and cultural features associated with the historic site (Brock et al. 2010).
Excavations re-commenced at the site in the spring of 2007 and continued in the summers of 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012. A block measuring 35 ft. east-west by 25 ft. north-south in its maximum dimensions was excavated; within and adjacent to it were a single post hole and a series of small stake holes that outlined two small enclosures. Subsequent excavations occurred around the block to the east and west. A second, smaller block, measuring 30 ft. east-west by 15 ft. north-south, was excavated in 2009 to expose two subfloor pits and the area immediately surrounding them. Quadrats excavated in 2011 and 2012 filled in gaps adjacent to and between the blocks. An area extending about 150 ft. north and 200 ft. east of the cabin was also tested. Systematic sampling of sediment from plow zone and subsoil resulted in a robust dataset of soil chemistry at the site that, in combination with artifact distribution maps and site features, has allowed for a fine-grained interpretation of the use of space at the site (Wilkins 2012; Heath et al. 2015).
The two subfloor pits are four feet apart and both were part of a single structure, probably a log dwelling with a mud-and-stick chimney. The western pit was circular, ranging in diameter from 4.2 to 6.5 ft. and reaching a depth of approximately 1.5 ft. The deepest layer consisted of primary fill, while the layers above contained architectural material associated with the demolition of the structure. The eastern pit was oval in shape measuring 6 ft. x 4 ft. and was approximately 1.5 ft. deep. This pit also consists of multiple layers of fill, nearly all of which were deposited before the structure was abandoned. A rich botanical assemblage was recovered from both pits and analyzed in the paleoethnobotany laboratory at the University of Massachusetts, Boston (Trigg and Henderson 2012; Henderson 2013). A modest faunal assemblage was analyzed at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, using the extensive comparative collections held by the Anthropology Department.
Research and analysis
Testing north, south and east of the cabin, and limited testing to the west, failed to uncover any evidence of additional historic occupation. As an archaeological site, Wingo’s is a rare example of an isolated 18th-century piedmont Virginia slave dwelling,occupied for a short duration in the 1770s or early 1780s as part of a quarter farm characterized by dispersed settlement. The micro-landscape of the quarter consisted of a single house, oriented east-west at the top of a slope. Residents maintained areas immediately south and east of the cabin as clean zones with relatively few artifacts dropped or discarded during the period that the site was occupied.
A large enclosure, divided into eastern and western halves, extended south and west of the cabin in a different orientation. An area west of the enclosure was also kept clean, with an arc-shaped midden defining its southern edge. Artifact and chemical deposition associated with portion of the enclosure suggest differences in use. The eastern half was used for outdoor food preparation, or the disposal of food-related trash, while the northern portion of the western half may have contained a garden, bounded to the south by an animal pen or henhouse. A midden stretched along the southern fence line.
The Wingo’s, North Hill and Quarter Site provide an important comparative dataset for understanding the development of the Poplar Forest plantation from the third quarter of the 18th- through the first quarter of the 19th centuries; for understanding Jefferson’s plantation management schemes at both Poplar Forest and Monticello; and for studying intra- and inter-plantation interactions between enslaved residents. More broadly, they contribute to a growing dataset that documents life for enslaved people in the Virginia piedmont after the American Revolution.
Barbara J. Heath
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
- The DAACS Project ID for the site is 1027.
- DAACS site maps were created using map elements from GIS files created by Crystal Ptacek.
- Features were identified by excavators in the field by their contexts only (unit number followed by letter). In addition to their designation as contexts in the DAACS database, features were also assigned arbitrary sequential feature numbers, beginning with “F01.”
- “General Artifact” data (with the exception of specific artifacts described below) were translated from Barbara Heath’s database of the recovered artifacts. DAACS staff translated these data into the DAACS database, insuring that descriptions used in Heath’s database were mapped correctly to the controlled attribute vocabulary used by DAACS. These artifacts include organic and inorganic materials such as brick, mortar, window glass, nails, tools charcoal, eggshell, and other miscellaneous artifacts. “General Artifacts” are defined by DAACS in the DAACS General Artifacts Cataloging Manual. DAACS analysts cataloged all sherds from the Wingos assemblage that once were part of ceramic vessels, glass vessels, buckles, beads, buttons, utensils, and tobacco pipes. The following General Artifacts were cataloged by DAACS staff and not translated: straight pins, lead shot, a paste jewel, and a fob seal.
- Wingos artifact “Objects” in DAACS are representative of Heath’s Minimum Vessel Count approach to artifact analysis for ceramics, glass vessels, and tobacco pipes. The Object Numbers recorded in DAACS are those assigned by Heath.
Wingos Contexts in DAACS
- All of the context information for Wingos was entered into DAACS from Heath’s digital catalog.
- 143 2 ft. x 2 ft. quadrats were excavated. Unit Type recorded as “Quadrat/Unit” in DAACS.
- 86 5 ft. x 5 ft. quadrats, 1 2.5 ft. x 2.5 ft. quadrat, 2 2.5 ft. x 5 ft. quadrats, and 1 2.5 ft. x 4 ft were excavated. Unit Type recorded as “Quadrat/Unit” in DAACS.
- 18 1.5 x 1.5 ft. STPs were excavated. Unit Type recorded as “STP” in DAACS.
- 58 auger tests were excavated. Unit Type recorded as “STP” in DAACS.
- Each quadrat/unit received a numeric designation in the field, with each natural stratum being designated by an uppercase letter. For example, 0281A refers to topsoil in a 5 ft. x 5 ft. unit. Layers and features (see features designations, above), if present, were lettered sequentially in a unit, so that plow zone in unit 0281 was designated as 0281B, while the top layer of the subfloor pit, sealed by plow zone, was designated 0281C. The letters O, I, U, and V were not used to avoid confusion with each other (U and V) or with numbers (O and 0, I and 1).
- 2 ft. x 2 ft. test units were sometimes expanded into 5 ft. x 5 ft. units. In these cases, the same unit number was reassigned to the larger unit, with a “/1” added to distinguish it from the smaller test.
Context Processing Strategy
- Coordinates were assigned to the northwest corner of each quadrat. All quadrats were excavated by shovel, and the interface between stratigraphic layers was trowelled to look for features and, if present, define their edges. All non-feature sediments were screened through standard ¼ in. mesh, and sediment chemical samples, approximately 0.25 liters in volume, were collected from plow zone and subsoil contexts in 5 ft. x 5 ft. quadrats. Sediments from both layers and features were described using standard Munsell color designations and U.S. Department of Agriculture terminology.
- Sediments from approximately two-thirds of each layer in subfloor pit 281 (F04) and one half of each layer in subfloor pit ER285 (F05) was floated using a Flote-Tech Model A machine (a minimum of a ten-liter sample per context) or water screened through 0.625 mm (1/4 inch) and 0.159 mm. mesh in 2.5 liter increments. The remaining sediment from each subfloor pit was screened through standard ¼ inch mesh. Standard-sized samples were also saved for soil chemical analyses.
- Chemical samples, approximately 0.25 liters in volume, were also collected from plow zone and subsoil contexts in 5 ft. x 5 ft. excavation units. Each sample is identified by the sample number designated by Heath, recorded as the Context Sample ID in DAACS. Sediment samples have been analyzed for chemical composition using XRF and subfloor pit samples have been analyzed for pH in the Department of Anthropology. They are stored, along with the rest of the collection (artifacts, field notes) in the Department of Archaeology and Landscapes at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest. Additional samples were sent to the University of Delaware’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences for standard agricultural soils analyses.
- Flotation and Water Screened samples are identified in DAACS by Context Sample IDs which correspond to Heath’s sample numbers.
In the field and subsequent analysis, original excavators identified features by the quadrat in which a majority of the feature was uncovered (e.g., Feature 281, which spanned several units, was primarily located in Quadrat 281). DAACS staff assigned numbers to features sequentially and added an F-prefix, such that F01 equals Feature 1). Stratigraphic layers within large features, namely F04 and F05, were identified with the primary quadrat number and a letter designation.
Single contexts have been given feature numbers at the request of the principal investigator given the 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. post or stake holes that comprise a fenceline). Feature Groups assigned by DAACS have a FG-prefix, which precedes the number (i.e. FG01 equals Feature Group 1).
|Stake Hole, possible||F06, F07, F08, F09, F10, F11, F12, F13, F15, F16, F17, F19, F20, F21, F22|
|F04||Pit, subfloor(< 28 sq.ft)||0281C, 0281D, 0281E, 0281F, 0281G, 0281H, 0281J, 0281K, 0281L, 0281UNPROV, 0281C-E1/2, 281E-E1/2, 0281F-E1/2, 0281G-E1/2, 0281H-E1/2, 0281J-E1/2, 0281K-E1/2, 0281L-E1/2|
|F05||Pit, subfloor(< 28 sq.ft)||0285C, 0285D, 0285E, 0285F, 0285G, 0285H, 0285J, 0285K, 0285L, 0285UNPROV, 0285C-N1/2, 285E-N1/2, 0285F-N1/2, 0285G-N1/2, 0281E-N1/2, 0285J-N1/2, 0285K-N1/2, 0285L-N1/2|
|F14||Stake Hole, possible||0295C|
|F18||Stake Hole, possible||0391C|
DAACS staff aim to produce a seriation-based chronology for each site using the same methods (see Neiman, Galle, and Wheeler 2003 for technical details). The use of common methods for all sites in the archive is designed to increase comparability among temporal phases at different sites. The methods they produced are summarized below. Archive users may also use the Mean Ceramic Date queries provided on the Query the Database section of this website to calculate MCDs for individual contexts or features.
DAACS Seriation Method
At Wingos, the plowzone strata contained a majority of the recovered from the site (n=99 ceramic sherds out of total n =110 ceramic sherds). This dispersal complicates creation of a seriation-based chronology for the site. Instead, we provide site-wide estimates of occupation. Only single sherds of pearlware and whiteware were found across all of the excavated contexts.
The table below includes the site-wide Mean Ceramic Date and the BLUE MCD, which gives less influence to ceramic types with long manufacturing spans, point to the occupation’s temporal placement the third quarter of the eighteenth century. It also provides three TPQ estimates. The first TPQ estimate is the usual one – the maximum beginning manufacturing date among all the ware-types in the assemblage. The second estimate — TPQp90 — is the 90th percentile of the beginning manufacturing dates among all the sherds in the assemblage, based on their ware-types. The TPQp95 provides a robust estimate of the site’s TPQ based on the 95th percentile of the beginning manufacturing dates for all the artifacts comprising it. These last two TPQ estimates are more robust against excavation errors and taphonomic processes that might have introduced a few anomalously late sherds into an assemblage.
Wingos MCDs and TPQs
Wingos 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. Lines that connect these boxes represent temporal relationships implied by the site’s stratification, as recorded by the site’s excavators (Harris 1979).
This Harris Matrix is based on data regarding stratigraphic relationships recorded among contexts in the DAACS database and was drawn with the ArchEd application. See http://www.ads.tuwien.ac.at/arched/index.html.
See Wingos Chronology for stratigraphic information.
For a printable version, download the Harris Matrix [PDF].
Wingos CAD site plan in .dgn format, compiled by Crystal Ptacek and DAACS.
Wingos site map of block excavation area, compiled by Crystal Ptacek and DAACS, in PDF format.
Betts, Edwin Morris
1987 Thomas Jefferson’s Farm Book, with Commentary and Relevant Extracts from other Writings. University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.
1961 The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. Volume 16, 20 November 1789 to 4 July 1790. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
Brock, W. H. Daniel, Stephen J. Yerka , and Gerald F. Schroedl
2010 Geophysical Prospection of the Wingos Slave Quarter Site, Bedford County, Virginia. Manuscript, Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.
Chambers, S. Allen, Jr.
1993 Poplar Forest and Thomas Jefferson. The Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest, Forest, Virginia.
Heath, Barbara J.
1999a Hidden Lives: The Archaeology of Slave Life at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest. University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Heath, Barbara J.
2013 A Report on the Faunal Remains from Wingos Quarter. Manuscript, Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Heath, Barbara J., Eleanor Breen , Crystal Ptacek , and Andrew Wilkins
2015 Archaeological Excavation at Wingo’s Quarter (44BE0298), Forest, Virginia, Results from the 2000-2012 Seasons. Report submitted to the National Endowment for the Humanities. University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
2013 Understanding Slave Subsistence in the Context of Changing Agricultural Practices: Paleoethnobotany at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest. MA thesis, Historical Archaeology Program, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA.
1991 Poplar Forest Research Report, Part 1: Early Poplar Forest, Stith Through Jefferson. Manuscript, Corporation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, Forest, VA.
Southwestern Virginia, Genealogical Society
1981 Bedford County, Virginia, Taxable property & Tithes for 1782. Virginia Appalachian Notes. 5(1)1-8.
Trigg, Heather , and Samantha Henderson
2012 Report on the Paleoethnobotanical Materials from Wingo’s Site (44BE0298). Cultural Resource Management Study no. 54. Andrew Fiske Center for Archaeological Research. Report submitted to the National Endowment for the Humanities. University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA.
2012 Final Report on Soil Chemistry Analysis of Wingo’s Quarter Site (44BE0298), Bedford County, Virginia. Manuscript, Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.