BOTETOURT Co., Va. – Botetourt County has given archeologists the green light for a survey that, if it comes back positive, may lead to more digging at the Greenfield Plantation.
The slave quarters on the site were relocated in 2016 to make way for construction of the shell building in the budding business park. Archeologists dug before construction began, but say it was a rushed job because of the timeline. They only looked in the immediate area of the building because that is what would be disturbed and this time they want to do a broader search of the property now that construction of the shell building is nearly complete.
"To do it right, it would've been months, if not years," Hurt & Proffitt Cultural Resources Director Randy Lichtenberger said. "If you look at sites like Monticello or Mount Vernon, they don't rush in and dig one feature and rush out in two weeks, they've been going at it for decades and I think this site had that kind of potential."
Crews want to look specifically for any signs of formal terrace gardens on the property, which they say are clearly visible as you look into the hillside and very rare for a property this far inland from the ocean. They say the initial search yielded double what they anticipated to find, and feel confident the Greenfield site is one of the most significant in the region.
If the survey comes back with evidence pointing toward a dig, the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors would need to give more approval before any digging could begin.