TVHS SUPPORTS 12th PUBLIC ARCHAEOLOGY DIG DAYS PROGRAM

A message from our friends at New Quarter Park ……….. Written by Sara Lewis, Park Interpreter New Quarter Park

Volunteer Archaeologists At Work

Our Partnership (Still) Makes History Happen at New Quarter Park . . . And You Can Help 

Twelve years ago, archaeology was a two-hour, once-every-year-or-so interpretive program at New Quarter Park. Today, the public archaeology program is a much-anticipated hands-on program that takes place over the course of 5 to 6 days each year. Now in its seventh year, the public program is supervised by professional archaeologists from the Fairfield Foundation. In addition, public artifact Wash and Talk days are held at the York County park on second Fridays each month year-round to help process the thousands of compelling artifacts retrieved from the Armistead Manor site. Public archaeology began at the New Quarter Park in 2013, when financial support from the Tidewater Virginia Historical Society and the Middle Peninsula Chapter of the Archeological Society of Virginia made it possible for Fairfield Foundation co-directors, Dave Brown and Thane Harpole, to answer a long-standing request from the park’s interpreter, Sara Lewis, to spend more time on the site exploring questions about the park’s past. Although named in 1976 for the nearby plantation quarter established by Lewis Burwell of Fairfield Foundation sometime around 1700, the only thing historians knew at the time was that Robert “King” Carter wrote in a 1723 diary post he had waited at “the new quarter” for transportation across the river to his daughter-in-law’s home, Fairfield, in Gloucester. Also, mid-20th-century historians knew the label “New Quarter” appeared on a 1782 map in a location that is today’s Cheatham Annex. Dave and Thane were intrigued by the Fairfield and Burwell connection, so they keep Sara’s request on their project “back-burner” until funding finally allowed them to dedicate time to archaeology work. From their first dig day in November 2013, Fairfield archaeologists noticed artifacts weren’t what they might expect to find on a slave quarter. This suggested that the site was not part of Burwell’s New Quarter. In 2015, the cellar of a substantial brick dwelling with plaster walls was found during the public archaeology program. The next year, test units were excavated over parts of the foundation. Sara dusted off the nearly 50-year-old research and spent long hours in York County’s colonial records files putting together pieces of information that confirmed Ellyson Armistead, a York County sheriff, lived there from around 1730 until his death in 1757. The Armistead family continued to live at the site until 1767 and ten years later, John Tyler sold his wife Mary Marot Armistead’s property to Nathaniel Burwell of Carter’s Grove. By this time, Lewis Burwell’s great-grandson Nathaniel owned neighboring New Quarter as well as another adjacent quarter named Forces. His ledgers reveal that he collected rent from white and free black tenants on the property. He sold food and timber produced on the 2,300 contiguous acres to clients in Williamsburg. On Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27, you can help expand our understanding of the Armistead manor property by participating in our 12th Public Archaeology Dig Days program at New Quarter Park, supported by TVHS, MPC-ASV, York County, and the York County Historical Museum. Be part of the discovery, where you may also find traces of the land’s Archaic to Woodland Indian past as well as artifacts and soil features from its first settlement by Europeans, beginning about 1635. Join us by registering for a morning (9-12) or afternoon (1-4) session, limited to 10 volunteers each session, by emailing:

Fairfield@FairfieldFoundation.org

TVHSTVHS SUPPORTS 12th PUBLIC ARCHAEOLOGY DIG DAYS PROGRAM