Release Date: November 3,2014

Archaeologists Present First Public Report on Grand Contraband Camp Archaeology at Hampton History Museum

Archaeologists Nick Luccketti and Matt Laird, of the James River Institute for Archaeology, will present their findings from a recent excavation of the Civil War era freedmen’s village “Grand Contraband Camp” as part of the Hampton History Museum’s Port Hampton Lecture Series on Monday, November 3 at 7:00 p.m.

During the American Civil War, thousands of courageous enslaved people fled plantations and small farms from nearby and fairly far away, to establish a community near the burned-out ruins of the town of Hampton. Deemed “Contraband of War” by occupying Union forces, those formerly enslaved people erected cabins made of slab logs alongside streets which they established and named for the heroes of their hoped-for freedom and for their liberation – Grant, Lincoln, Union, and Liberty.

Recent archaeological excavations unearthed the location of the camp, plus related features associated with the occupation.  A new and expanded phase of excavations will attempt to define more clearly the daily lives of people claiming their freedom. Archaeologists hope to find remnants of “slabwood mansions”, fence lines, pathways, and especially wells and trash pits, offering a glimpse of the new world that the Contraband were forging for themselves. Luccketti and Laird will offer interpretations of what has been uncovered, and speculation upon the future excavations on this important site.

**The ground-breaking exhibition “Toward Freedom: Hampton and the Contraband” continues at the Hampton History Museum through November 30, 2014**

The event is free for museum members and $5.00 for non-members. The Hampton History Museum is located at 120 Old Hampton Lane in downtown Hampton, Virginia. There is plenty of free parking in the garage across the street. For more information call 757/727-1610, visit, or like Hampton History Museum on Facebook.