The Fairfield Foundation has long supported preservation efforts on the Middle Peninsula and surrounding areas through public archaeology, historical research, oral histories and preservation advocacy. As our Center for Archaeology, Preservation, and Education (CAPE) nears completion we are redoubling our efforts within the community to broaden our impact and demonstrate the value of historic places. We have launched two new initiatives to expand our reach within the region and to provide services to landowners, historical organizations, and educators that help document, preserve, and share our community’s diverse history.
Documentation and preservation efforts are ongoing at the site of the Brooks Cemetery, Mathews
Site Documentation Initiative
Since our founding in 2000 we have responded to calls, emails, and visits from landowners who had questions about artifacts they found on their property, or wondered how to document an old building in their neighborhood. There is a great need to help record our history before it is lost. Our goals are to document both archaeological sites and standing buildings throughout the region. This effort coincides with the mission of Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources and local groups, such as the Middle Peninsula Chapter of the Archeological Society of Virginia, to record information on historic sites across the commonwealth. It also preserves a documentary record of these sites in perpetuity and can lead to further research, excavation or building preservation efforts beyond these sites. Our initial goals are modest, but we encourage all of you to get involved. If you know of old buildings that are falling down, have found artifacts in your garden or eroding from the riverbanks, or own an historic structure that has not been researched, please get in touch with us.
Robins Mill Ruins, Gloucester
Site Preservation Initiative
We all know of sites that we think deserve long-term protection. Archaeological sites in particular are susceptible to destruction because they are not generally visible, and it’s hard to protect what you cannot see. The Fairfield Foundation would like to ensure that some archaeological sites are preserved for the future, whether through sale or donation to a non-profit group, the donation of protective easements or placement of deed restrictions, or through education and outreach efforts to the public. Our initial efforts are focused on identifying sites that we think should be preserved and reaching out to landowners and community stakeholders to discuss the various ways in which these sites can be protected, including potential financial incentives.
Jason Whitehead of Colonial Williamsburg’s Brickyard works with an Adventures in Preservation participant to restore the brick foundations of the manor house at Fairfield Plantation
We have assisted in the documentation of dozens of sites, and the preservation of several, including portions of the Walter Reed Birthplace site, the Fairfield Plantation site, and, most noteworthy, Werowocomoco. But there are many more that can use our collective help and attention. Please join us in this effort by sharing with us information you have on historic sites and properties, and volunteering with us on our many archaeological and architectural research efforts across the Middle Peninsula. Together we can ensure that our history is not lost. Reach out to us at [email protected] or call us at 804-815-4467. We look forward to hearing from you!