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April 13, 2012

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AGR

Monticello is embarking on an ambitious plan to reinterpret Mulberry Row, where the enslaved people who worked in the house lived and which was the site of, among other things, the blacksmith shop. The tours will be even more informative.

Alfred Brophy

I'm delighted to hear this -- the guide on the slavery tour said something along the lines of they're thinking (or maybe planning) on reconstructing some of the buildings along Mulberry Row. I didn't fully understand what he was saying. I thought the entire experience was really fabulous and I'd love to see a reconstructed blacksmith shop.

Jason Mazzone

I was there a week ago. I was interested in the role the archeological work is playing in supplementing Jefferson's written records. For example, unearthed artifacts show that over time slave quarters were set farther apart from each other and from the overseers' house--suggesting growing independence of slaves.

AGR

The concern has been over the years, expressed by some visitors, is that the lack of a physical representation of a dwelling tends to "disappear" enslaved people.I never had a problem with just showing the contours of the living space, and talking about how many people lived there. But, to each his own. The guides are fantastic. I like the name change from "Plantation Community Tours" to "Slavery at Monticello Tours".

Archaeology is key. I remember insisting that there must have been more buildings on the mountain than TJ's records indicated on a plat he prepared when he was going to apply for insurance in 1796. Despite what he put down, it made no sense that there were not more buildings. Sure enough, just before THOM went to press, the digs found additional dwellings. Written records do not tell everything.

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