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Fairfield plantation is the ancestral home of the Burwell family in America. Patented by Lewis Burwell I, the Gloucester County plantation would be home to six generations of Burwells (1642-1787) and three generations of the Thrustons (1787-1853), a prominent merchant-planter family from Gloucester Point and Yorktown.
   By the 1840s the property was home to a series of tenants, including African Americans, who farmed the land until the house was destroyed by fire in 1897.
   Today Fairfield is a significant archaeological site, where research is focused on understanding the plantation landscape and specifically the 1694 manor house and its immediate surroundings.  Excavations also are shedding light on the house's evolution, the lifestyles of its occupants, and the layout and transformation of the surrounding landscape. Archaeological evidence has revealed slave quarters, fence lines, and a large formal garden.
   Ongoing excavations will enable the
Fairfield Foundation to interpret the evolution of this plantation and the lives of the many diverse people who lived and worked there.
   The top map (detail), drafted by an anonymous cartographer, is from 1783. (Courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation).


Bottom map by Dominic Bascone, DHR