Some of our aspiring archaeologists woke up bright and early Saturday morning to help excavate the site of Fairfield Plantation. Fairfield was a large manor house built in 1694 by one of colonial Virginia’s most esteemed families, and it survived all the way to the 1880s when it burned down. Archaeologists Dave Brown and Laura Buchannan from the Fairfield Foundation taught our students to use objects in the ground to piece together the story of the people who lived there over two hundred years of the house’s existence, especially those who didn’t make it into the historical record such as enslaved Africans. Through dirt and sweat, NIAHD students are helping to find pieces of the archaeo-historical puzzle.
Saturday afternoon served as study time for those not finished their journals and free time for those finished all their work. Many took advantage of the Colonial Williamsburg passes to visit the living history museum while others took time to do their laundry and play sports. The RPAs took some students out to Target to buy all those necessities forgotten in the rush of packing for the program.
After a fun, dizzying night of colonial dance taught by Elizabeth Ozment, the RPAs took some students to the Williamsburg favorite Sno-to-Go to try their special stuffed snow cones (that’s a snow cone with soft serve ice cream in the middle). As we waited in line we noticed lightning getting closer and closer to the area. We made it back to the dorm as a Tornado Warning was issued for Williamsburg so we huddled all the students in the hallways of Preston First Floor to ride out the torrential rain and high wind (luckily the tornado dissipated before it reached the city). After the official weather warning was canceled, we told everyone to contact their parents and then go to bed as thunder rumbled throughout the night.
Sunday morning saw quiet halls as many students slept in after the excitement from the weather ills the night before. In the afternoon, students attended Overview Lectures to summarize the previous week of field trips and readings and prepare for the week ahead. Once again, in the afternoon many students took advantage of Colonial Williamsburg and spent their free time exploring the shops of Merchant’s Square and the historical buildings further down Duke of Gloucester Street (aka DoG Street). In the evening, Dr. Catherine Kerrison gave an intriguing talk on the lives of Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson’s daughter while they both lived in Paris during Jefferson’s ambassadorship.
One week down for NIAHD 2012 First Session. Two weeks to go!