Fire at Montpelier’s Archaeology Lab

The fire occurs just as Montpelier’s public archaeology expeditions are getting under way.

Monday evening a fire broke out at James Madison’s Archaeology Lab at Montpelier in Orange County. The cause of the fire is currently unknown, but an investigation is underway.

“The speed of first responders from five regions of Orange County demonstrated the power of community,” said Eola L. Dance, President and CEO of The Montpelier Foundation. “The rest of the property was not impacted. The historic core of Montpelier will remain open to the public and continue with normal operations.”

Director of Archaeology Dr. Matt Reeves said the focus now is to “clean, assess, and store irreplaceable artifacts.”

The fire comes at a particularly bad time for Montpelier, which runs a robust archaeology program that focuses on four tasks: Excavate, Locate, Analyze, and Reconstruct, according to Montpelier’s website.

The spring excavation operation, which invites the general public to dig beside Montpelier’s professional archaeology staff, is just now underway. According to the website, an Archaeology and Arboristry Expedition had occurred on April 7 and 8.

A number of additional expeditions are planned throughout the summer

This is a developing story. Stay with the Advance for more information as it becomes available.

This story was updated at 4:39 to reflect new information received from Montpelier.

by Martin Davis