Home of Jefferson's girlfriend explored

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GLOUCESTER, Va. — The excavation of a hidden chamber at the former home of Thomas Jefferson's girlfriend has not turned up any love letters — yet.

''We still have about 2 feet further down to dig,'' said archaeologist Thane Harpole, who is leading the project along with fellow archaeologist David Brown.

Fairfield Plantation was the Gloucester County home of Rebecca Burwell, who was 16 when she met College of William and Mary student Thomas Jefferson. The house was built in 1694 for Lewis Burwell II, patriarch of one of colonial Virginia's largest and most politically influential families.

Harpole and Brown say excavation of the hidden chamber in the home's cellar has turned up several artifacts, but nothing related to the romance between Rebecca and the man who would become the author of the Declaration of Independence and the nation's third president.

The archaeologists have no idea why the hidden chamber was built, but early indications are that it was used in more recent times as a giant junk drawer.

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