Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Excavation of a Virginia Courthouse

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Brian Bates of Longwood College at an archaeology conference. Brain was presenting a poster on his excavation of "Thomas Jefferson's Lost Courthouse" in Buckingham, Virginia, and later sent me a copy of his report.

The "lost courthouse" was designed by Thomas Jefferson, but, like our original courthouse in Port Tobacco, no drawings or images of the courthouse are known to exist today. Brian and his team conducted archival and archaeological analyses in an attempt to discover what Jefferson's courthouse would have looked like, inside and out.

Below is their best guess of the courthouse exterior. While it does differ from the reconstructed Port Tobacco courthouse in overall style, it is similar in its two wings, each with its own front-facing door and window, and its main building, peaked at the center at a third floor attic.


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