The next edition of the Virginia Museum of Natural History's "2nd Thursday Science Talks" is set to take place Thursday, April 9 at 6 p.m. at the museum, when Jessica Clark, VMNH Archaeology Assistant, presents "The Gravely House: A Case Study in 20th Century Archaeology and Material Culture".
In her upcoming presentation, Jessica will discuss the implications of demolition in the 20th and 21st centuries on archaeological methods and possible changes for archaeology moving forward. Focusing squarely on the Gravely House, one of the earliest homes built on Mulberry Road in Martinsville, Jessica compared the archaeological remains uncovered from this site with the record of their material belongings maintained in personal documents and correspondences. With these comparisons in mind, Jessica delved deeper into the implications of demolition in the 20th and 21st centuries on archaeological methods and potential changes for the future of archaeology.
Built in 1906 by Will Gravely, then representative to the Virginia State Legislature, and his wife, Carrie Anson Gravely, the house was the first to be built on Mulberry Road, a street that has historically contained the most elaborate and extraordinary homes in Martinsville. Initial shovel test pit excavations of the site yielded two original garden features still intact, a stone path and a concrete fishpond. At the beginning of field work, a concrete slab and brick garage foundation and standing frame outbuilding were present and photographed, but these items were bulldozed before measured drawings could be completed.
Though just recently graduated from Longwood University's anthropology program, Jessica has completed extensive field and lab work as a student and museum intern. She presently serves as archaeology assistant inside the museum's archaeology lab. As assistant, her current primary focus is on a collection of artifacts from what is thought to be a site from the Paleoindian Period in Warren County, Virginia.