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Algonquian Gardens in Tidewater Virginia

Jessica Herlich, College of William and Mary, Junior Fellow 2014–2015

The resources and community at Dumbarton Oaks provided a supportive environment for me to make significant progress on writing, researching, and completing chapters of my dissertation, an archaeological and archaeobotanical (analysis of ancient plant remains) study of the Algonquian landscape in Tidewater Virginia spanning approximately sixteen hundred years. This work includes connecting archaeological material culture, archaeobotanical evidence (macrobotanicals, phytoliths, starch grains, etc.), ethnohistoric accounts of plant and landscape use, and historical documents, in order to discuss landscape designs and to explore the coastal landscape as a garden. The library resources and staff were helpful and introduced me to new perspectives and sources to incorporate in my narrative. The diverse research reports and scholarly papers were thought-inspiring, and conversations with scholars from distinct disciplines helped broaden my view of garden and landscape meaning and representations. I had the opportunity to explore new interpretations of my project’s data, especially through building comparative examples of constructions of landscape from different cultural and temporal lenses.