Best Farm Slave Village

Best Farm Slave Village excavated hearth
Stone and mortar hearth excavated at Best Farm

NPS Staff

Monocacy National Battlefield archeologists are currently excavating the site of the largest known slave habitation site in the Mid-Atlantic region. The site is associated with L'Hermitage, a plantation established in 1794 by the Vincendières, a family of French planters who came to Maryland from Saint-Domingue (known today as Haiti). By 1800, L'Hermitage was home to 90 enslaved laborers, approximately ten times the number of slaves that would be expected for the size of the plantation. This was the second largest slave population in Frederick County at the time and among the largest in the state of Maryland.

Surface-penetrating radar
Surface-penetrating radar shows a possible subsurface feature.

NPS Staff

Traditional field methods and surface penetrating radar - a remote sensing technique that uses electromagnetic waves to detect buried features, such as foundations - have been used to locate features at the site. To date, the remains of a total of six dwelling houses have been uncovered, as well as artifacts associated with enslaved occupations from 1794 until 1827.

Information from the excavations will be used in the development of new exhibits and interpretive programs focusing on slavery and African-American experiences at Monocacy National Battlefield.

Funding for this project has been provided by the NPS Cultural Resource Preservation Program, Monocacy National Battlefield, and the Secretary of the Interior's Youth Intake Program. Undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Maryland (College Park), American University, Howard University, and Hood College have been hired to assist with this project. A number of volunteers and school groups have also helped out with field and laboratory tasks.


Last updated: April 10, 2015

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