College Students Digging Up History at Poplar Forest

Reporter: Lauren Compton l Videographer: Daniel Heffner

Bedford Co., VA- There are still so many questions about Thomas Jefferson's life at Poplar Forest. And, college students are helping to peel back those mysteries though archaeology.

They earn college credits, and Poplar Forest gains a better understanding of history there.

Students say it takes a lot of patience, and endurance to participate in the project. But, many say they feel fortunate to be uncovering history.

"It's very tedious," said Monica Neff, a sophomore at Miami University in Ohio.

"You don't want to wear nice clothes doing this kind of work," said Dave Gorman, a rising senior at," at Geneseo State University in Rochester New York.

The students say in archaeology work you have to be prepared to get down in the dirt, and have a good eye for detail.

"You want to make sure you don't miss any fine details or hurt any of the artifacts," said Neff.

With small tools these students are digging through the soil at Poplar Forest looking for the remains of one of Jefferson's stables.

"The only way we're going to understand how Jefferson designed this landscape and tell visitors about that design is by finding these things," said Jack Gary, Director of Archaeology

The students will be wrapping up their work at Poplar Forest in the next few days. You can catch them working during visitor hours or during the Fourth of July event there.

For more information about the project go to