Investigating a Poplar Forest Slave Cabin


Project Archaeology will transform your classroom into a community of student archaeologists who ask questions, make observations and support their inferences with evidence, analyze primary sources, relate culture to their own lives, and passionately share what they learn in a variety of ways.

Discover the past through evidence from an archaeological site in Virginia! In this investigation, students will use geography, history, and archaeology to learn about a slave cabin and the families who lived in it.

Examine illustrations, artifacts, and maps of a slave cabin located at Poplar Forest, one of Thomas Jefferson's plantations in Virginia. Students meet Gregory Jefferson, whose ancestors live and were enslaved at Poplar Forest, by reading a biography. Then they analyze historic records, "uncover" a real archaeological site, classify artifacts, and infer how the geographic area of Virginia shaped the slave cabin.

Explore the use of a slave cabin and the cultural correlations today.

  • Includes text by archaeologists and African American descendants
  • Supports Common Core State Standards
  • Incorporates authentic data for students to analyze

“They talk about 21st century skills being important in schools these days. Archaeology is a perfect way to teach kids how to think, how to look at things, and how to pull information from the world around them.” — Teacher Testimonial


“I have never learned about the history of my own ancestors in school before.” — Student, Washington, DC