Poplar Forest Summer Research Internship in Historical Archaeology

$2,000 for a summer research opportunity at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

Poplar Forest is the former retreat home and working plantation of Thomas Jefferson, and is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Lynchburg, Virginia. Over the past 30 years, archaeologists have uncovered evidence of Jefferson’s time on the property and the lives of the enslaved laborers who lived and worked on the plantation during the 18th and 19th centuries.

This year’s fieldwork will focus on archaeological sites associated with Poplar Forest’s enslaved residents as we attempt to better understand their lives by looking at the places they worked and lived. The primary site for this summer’s research will be the location of an early to mid-1800s structure that may have been a barn, stable, or quarters for enslaved laborers. The successful applicant will work alongside the Poplar Forest staff to assist in all phases of field excavation, including working with and teaching field school students during the six week field school starting June 5. This will involve strenuous outdoor labor in the hot Virginia sun, so good physical health is a must. In addition, the intern will need to be comfortable interacting with the public and explaining the archaeological process to site visitors. While in residence, the successful applicant will also be granted access to the collections and research facilities of Poplar Forest. This includes a collection of several hundred thousand artifacts; a database system containing both archaeological artifact and context records; and a complete inventory containing over 2,500 historical documents relating to Poplar Forest. By partnering with the Poplar Forest staff, these collections may then be drawn upon in the future to support the student’s own research, the products of which could include professional conference papers, journal articles, Master’s theses, and PhD dissertations. The intern will also have the opportunity to work alongside Poplar Forest archaeologists to write a technical report on the summer’s findings.

A stipend of $2,000 will be provided for the nine week internship, which will be held in conjunction with the field school. The intern will be responsible for making their own housing arrangements as well as providing for their own meals and transportation. Information regarding housing options will be made available through the Poplar Forest archaeology staff. Successful applicants should have at least one field school, and more field experience is a definite plus. Knowledge of historical material culture is required.

Deadline Information

Deadline: Saturday, April 21, 2018

Eligibility Requirements

This internship is intended for early-phase graduate students and advanced undergraduates who have previous field training and are looking for more experience conducting fieldwork and supervising field school students in a research-oriented setting.

Application Process

By April 21, 2017, send the following information to Jack Gary, Director of Archaeology and Landscapes, Poplar Forest, P.O. Box 419, Forest, VA 24551.

  1. Personal information: Include your full name, home address, home and work/school telephone numbers, occupation and e-mail address.
  2. A resume or curriculum vitae.
  3. A two-page statement of personal and professional reasons for participating.
  4. Two letters of recommendation from others addressing the following:
    1. Your academic and professional ability and performance
    2. Your personality and ability to work well with others

Selections will be made by the Poplar Forest Archaeology Department by April 25, 2017.

Any questions can be directed to Jack Gary at jack@poplarforest.org or 434.534.8105.