Paid Summer Research Internship in Historical Archaeology

Friday, April 22, 2011


Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest 24551 Forest , VA
United States
37° 21' 49.5108" N, 79° 17' 23.0964" W
Virginia US

Summer Research Internship in Historical Archaeology at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest

The Department of Archaeology and Landscapes at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest is offering one funded research position for June 5 through July 8 with the potential for an additional five weeks of funding.  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.

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 twenty-five 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 eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries.

This year’s fieldwork will focus on the southeast curtilage and core, two fascinating portions of Poplar Forest that have connections to both the plantation’s enslaved community and Jefferson’s ornamental landscape.  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 five 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 museum 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system containing both archaeological artifact and context records; and a complete inventory containing over 1,000 historical documents relating to Poplar Forest.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, Masters theses, and PhD dissertations.

A stipend of $1,000 will be provided for the initial five week internship, which will be held in conjunction with the field school.  There is the potential for an additional five-week period beginning after the field school, which would include an additional $1,000 stipend.  This second five-week period is contingent on Poplar Forest receiving outside funding.  Notification of this outside funding will come in May, and the successful applicant will be notified immediately.  

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.

By April 22, 2011, 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 and 2) your personality and ability to work well with others.

Selections will be made by the Poplar Forest Archaeology Department by April 26, 2011.

For more information on Poplar Forest’s ongoing archaeological research visit:  Any questions can be directed to Jack Gary at or 434-534-8105.

Institution or Company offering position: 
Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest
Contact Name: 
Jack Gary