Quarterly Newsletter, December 2020


In this issue:
*New Listings on Virginia Landmarks Register *New Historical Markers *New ASV Archaeology Publication *Other News & Announcements
Shows four thumbnail photos of properties nominated
New listings are in the counties of Albemarle, Arlington, Campbell, Craig, Essex, Fairfax, Halifax, Mecklenburg, Middlesex, Southampton, and Washington; and the cites of Alexandria, Charlottesville, and Danville.

Seven Historic Sites
Added to the
Virginia Landmarks Register

Among seven places approved for listing on the Virginia Landmarks Register in December are two churches integral to Reconstruction-era Black settlements, the houses of a James River canal lock builder and that of a one-time railroad company treasurer, and a 1920s subdivision tied to the College of William & Mary.

Read more and view photos. . .
syms-eaton academy
Markers cover topics in the counties of Accomack, Chesterfield (2), Gloucester, Montgomery, Westmoreland, and Wise; and the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, and Lynchburg. Postcard above is the Syms-Eaton Academy in Hampton.

Ten Historical Highway Markers Approved

The lynching in 1927 of an African American man in southwestern Virginia, which resulted in the nation’s first law to make lynching a state crime, and the exploits of two influential families during the Revolutionary War are among the topics highlighted in ten new state historical markers designated for localities in the commonwealth.

Read about markers and texts and view related photos. . .

ASV First People cover
Focused on Virginia’s pre-European Contact past, this multi-author book is for scholars and readers interested in Virginia’s American Indian archaeology.

NEW Publication:
The Archaeology of Virginia's First Peoples

Features more than 100 photos, maps, tables, and illustrations; published and available through Amazon

With partial funding from the Department of Historic Resources, the Archeological Society of Virginia (ASV) and the Council of Virginia Archaeologists (COVA) recently completed a yearslong effort to produce The Archaeology of Virginia’s First Peoples, a book about Virginia’s pre-European Contact past. It
surveys a timespan that stretches back more than 15,000 years.

Read an announcement about the book. . .
20200920_Copyright.2020.L.Galke small
Curling tongs from the 1700s. (Author’s private collection)
Spotlight on DHR Collections:
Celebrating Our Shared Hair-itage
—DHR Chief Curator Laura Galke discusses historical haircare accessories

What tools do you use to style your hair…a comb…a curling wand? Do you need the help of others to create a unique hair style? Grooming says a lot about how much time we have to devote to our appearance, as well as the nature of our daily activities. Remember how difficult it was for some of us to get haircuts at the beginning of the 2020 pandemic? We have really came to appreciate our allies in hair care!
Read more and view photos. . .
witch bottle
DHR Conservation Lab:
"Witch Bottle"
VDOT archaeologists recovered a "witch bottle" during road construction on I-64 near Williamsburg earlier this year. DHR conservator Kate Ridgway and VDOT teamed up in October to analyze it. In a video VDOT produced, Ridgway talks about some of the analysis she conducted on this rare artifact in DHR's conservation lab . . . What would you put in your witch bottle?
Cover Three
Cover of one of the hardcopy reports recently digitized.
DHR Archives:
Digitizing CRM Reports
Over the course of 2020, DHR in collaboration with Virginia Correctional Enterprises (VCE) has scanned and digitized nearly 5,000 Cultural Resource Management (CRM) reports, many of which entered our “grey literature” collections decades ago. The project, funded by a VDOT grant, makes these reports available for online access to license holders through DHR’s (recently updated) Virginia Cultural Resources Inventory System (V-CRIS) database. When the project concludes in early 2021, over 98% of the DHR's current catalog of over 11,000 CRM reports will be available in digital form. The CRM community has expressed its appreciation for this enhancement.
Hats off to project leaders, Archivist Quatro Hubbard and our in-house tech guru, Jolene Smith, who is now DHR's recently appointed director of the HR’s Survey & Information Management Division. Particular thanks to DHR receptionist Linda Kirk, who has worked tirelessly since March scanning “special handling” reports, as well as oversized maps and drawings, in the Archives reading room. These older and often more delicate reports either were in permanent binding or deemed too fragile to transfer to VCE.
Archaeologist canoeing on river.
Watercraft Survey of Inland Waterways in NOVA
In 2017 DHR’s Northern Regional Preservation Office (NRPO) began conducting archaeological survey of inland waterways in Northern Virginia by using kayaks and canoes to inspect the shorelines and river bottoms. This method of survey is an efficient way to locate sites threatened by ongoing erosion that terrestrial survey could not identify. Continue reading DHR archaeologist Bob Jolley's blog. . .
Walter Reed birthplace. The recently-eased Belroi Road Lots were originally part of the birthplace property.
Custis Tombs
Custis Tombs, part of the historical Arlington Plantation, and adjacent to the Arlington Archaeological Site.
DHR Easement Program:
Three New Easements Recorded since September.
  • The Fairfield Foundation donated an easement on the Belroi Road Lots, 6.8 acres associated with Gloucester County’s Walter Reed Birthplace, which is under a prior easement and listed on the state and national registers. The combined easements now protect the entire birthplace property that the Bellamy Church leased for use by traveling ministers including the father of Walter Reed. Reed was born there in 1851.
Arlington Foundation, Inc. donated two easements tied to the historic Arlington Plantation property in Northampton County.
  • The brick-walled Custis Tombs cemetery, originally part of the 700-acre Arlington Plantation.
  • The 7.3-acre Arlington Archaeological Site contains archaeological features and deposits associated with a Late Woodland/Contact period Accomac town, as well as a later Virginia Company settlement, and the archaeological remains of the Arlington manor.

Other Announcements:

  • Battlefield Preservation Grants Announced (in Oct.): These VBPF grants include second one ever awarded to protect a parcel associated with Revolutionary War (in Chesapeake); other grants target Civil War battlefields in counties of Henrico, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Warren, and York.
  • Cost Share and Planning Grant Awards for 2020-2021 Announced (in Oct.) Grants support projects in the counties of Bedford, Fauquier, and Henrico; the towns of Ashland (Hanover Co.) and Colonial Beach (Westmoreland Co.); and the City of Virginia Beach.
  • Gov. Northam’s 2020 Black History Month Historical Marker Contest:
    The Governor's office initiated a competition last February that asked students to submit ideas for new historical markers to DHR. The Governor’s Office received 285 student entries. DHR selected ten, based on the criteria for Historical Highway Markers. The Virginia Board of Historic Resources approved the first group of winning markers last June. DHR expects the remaining five winners from the contest to be manufactured and erected in 2021. This handout features the texts of the ten the new markers. (In late 2019, DHR published A Guidebook to Virginia’s African American Historical Markers,)
  • Recently published online, Archaeology Technical Report No. 8: The Chippokes Plantation Swimming Pool Site (44SY0253), Surry County, Virginia: A 17th-Century Site by Michael B. Barber.