The archeological investigations at the Stone House began by late 2001 and were conducted by Thunderbird Archeological Associates, Inc. This initial phase of excavations was characterized by the digging of test pits at intervals on the lot around the structure. In large measure this investigation confirmed what we already suspected: that there was a significant amount of dirt infill from the twentieth century all around the rear of the structure. But, as the official report from June of 2004 stated, these test pits “showed evidence of the presence of an undisturbed historic ground surface” in those areas. In other words, future excavations that remove the twentieth century infill layers down to that undisturbed historic ground surface will most likely yield significant information about the material lives of the inhabitants of the Stone House.
The scope of those early investigations conducted by Thunderbird Archeological Associates did not go so far as to answer the questions we are now facing about the historical appearance of the rear of the Stone House. The excavations conducted by James Madison University students under the direction of Dr. Dennis Blanton in the winter of 2015, and the investigations performed by Rivanna Archaeological Services in the summer of 2016 have helped us get a glimpse into the historical appearance of the rear yard behind the Stone House. Future excavations will yield more information and we hope that someday we will have a complete picture of how the back yard of the Stone House looked in 1830.