Presidential Cuisine a Focus of Archaeology

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Arizona State Museum archaeologists are looking through historic table scraps in an effort to find out more about the kitchen of America's fourth president and author of the U.S. Constitution.

For about a decade, Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman and her students from the University of Arizona have been part of ongoing excavations at Montpelier, the home of James and Dolley Madison. The archaeology of Montpelier's grounds offer some light on what day-to-day life was like from the pre-Revolutionary War era to well into the 18th century.

She is collaborating with the Montpelier Foundation on analysis of animal remains – mostly bones – excavated at the estate. These artifacts offer clues about what the Madisons, their guests and their slaves dined on at the time.

Madison's grandfather, Ambrose Madison, built Mount Pleasant, the first family cabin on a few thousand remote acres at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Virginia in 1723. That was left behind in the 1760s when James Madison Sr. started constructing what would become Montpelier....

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