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Discovering information about slave societies of North America and the Caribbean

With a total land mass of 1,120 acres, the home of President Andrew Jackson, called The Hermitage, is one of the largest – and one of the most visited presidential homes in the United States. In recent years the educational and preservation programs which include archeology and the history of slavery have greatly enhanced the experience for hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Photograph of Andrew Jackson in 1844, at age 78
Paul Boyer et. al. | Public Domain
The Old Plantation (Slaves Dancing on a South Carolina Plantation), ca. 1785-1895. watercolor on paper, attributed to John Rose, Beaufort County, South Carolina.
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA | Public Domain

The National Endowment for the Humanities recently announced that they will provide a three-year grant to enable archaeologists at Monticello – the home of Thomas Jefferson, near Charlottesville, Virginia – to collaborate with the home of Andrew Jackson, called The Hermitage, near Nashville, Tennessee.

The project is called “Beyond the Mansion 2.0,” and is to focus on the First Hermitage, which dates from the first occupation by Andrew Jackson himself as well as a “cluster of archaeological sites.” Initially populated by a small group of enslaved people, by 1821 this then represented a significant slave labor force.

Built by the Department of Archaeology at Monticello, the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS) provides free access to an enormous amount of data that allow comparative research on slavery that has remained discrete until now. Through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for $300,000, and additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Reed Foundation, and from Monticello – this innovative internet-based project will make available thirty years of archaeological research at The Hermitage, both to scholars and to the general public. To learn more, visit

The Hermitage is a nonprofit organization, and the “mansion,” which is at the center of this landmark site has achieved the distinction of being the most accurately preserved among the presidential homes; and is a “Partner Place” with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is one of the most significant sites along the National Park Service’s “Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.” For more information, visit The Hermitage website.

Thomas Jefferson Foundation was incorporated in 1923 to preserve Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Today the Foundation seeks to advance its twofold mission of preservation and education by engaging a global audience in a dialogue with Jefferson’s ideas. Monticello is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark and a United Nations World Heritage Site. As a private, nonprofit organization, the Foundation’s regular operating budget is not supported by federal or state government funding. About 450,000 people visit Monticello each year. For information, visit the Monticello website.

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