Skip to main content

Jeffrey L. Hantman Archive of Monacan Archaeology, History and Culture

Identifier: 103

Origin, Logic, and Structure

This archive was developed as one part of the Monacan Memorialization Project planned by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in 2022. The intent of the project is to include Monacan Indian history and the contemporary community in the interpretive and research goals of the Foundation. The project includes collaboration with the Monacan people today based in Amherst County, Virginia, archaeological research at Monacan settlements at Monticello, and the development of a digital archive on Monacan archaeology, history and culture to be housed at the Jefferson Library. This archive is the first iteration of that particular project goal, as of 2023.

The Monacan people were the original inhabitants of the land that would become Monticello. They were speakers of an Eastern Siouan language and were a part of a large and connected quilt of Eastern Siouan-speaking Indians living across Eastern North America. Monacan ancestral territory in Virginia encompassed part of the Piedmont, Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River Valley of Virginia, with a focus on the James and Rappahannock river systems. The Monacans were neighbors to the Algonquian-speaking Powhatan people to the east, and southern neighbors to Iroquoian-speaking people. Monticello sits above the Rivanna River, a tributary of the James and the location of a Monacan town named Monasukapanough. Thomas Jefferson conducted archaeological research at that site in 1784, including the disturbance/excavation of a Monacan burial mound there.

The goals of the archive can be summarized as:
(1) a guide to Monacan-related research conducted and published by Professor Jeffrey Hantman and students at the University of Virginia between 1985 and 2023,
(2) a guide to literature providing a regional context for understanding and interpreting Monacan archaeology and early colonial history in the greater Chesapeake Bay area,
(3) a guide to literature on Thomas Jefferson and archaeology and American Indians in Virginia,
(4) a selected list of sources on post-1700 Monacan history,
(5) a selected list of key references to the early colonial history of Native Americans in the Eastern United States, and
(6) a guide to websites that provide insights into political and cultural issues of importance to the Monacan people today and a brief review of the contemporary and traditional arts of several noted Monacan artists and cultural interpreters. Detail on those topics is provided in the next section of the archive, also serving as a table of contents.

A major goal of the archive project was to make available information and links to a focused public audience, including Monacans and other Native Americans, scholars interested in American Indian history in Virginia and the Eastern United States, and others interested in research on Jefferson and American Indian history. Books, journal articles and book chapters are listed separately within some sections of the archive. Every effort will be made to make online copies of chapters and articles under copyright available as soon as permissions can be obtained.


  • Creation: 1985 - 2023


Jeffrey L. Hantman (1952 - ) Hantman is Professor Emeritus in the Anthropology Department and Interdisciplinary Program in Archaeology at the University of Virginia. He earned his BA in Anthropology in 1975 at Binghamton University (SUNY) where he began his archaeological studies research in the Susquehanna River Valley and ancestral Haudenosaunee people of New York State. He received his MA (1978) and PhD (1983) in Anthropology at Arizona State University where his research focused on ancestral Pueblo cultures. He began a nearly forty-year research and teaching career at the University of Virginia in 1983. He has conducted archaeological and anthropological research in Virginia and the Greater Chesapeake region since the late 1980s. Hantman is an anthropological archaeologist who developed a long-term interest in the history of the Monacan Indian people of Virginia. Recent publications include Monacan Millennium: A Collaborative Archaeology and History of a Virginia Indian People (University of Virginia Press, 2018/2021); ‘Sites in History, History in Sites: Archaeology, Historical Anthropology and Indigenous Knowledge,’ in The Death of Prehistory, ed. by P. Schmidt and S. Mrozowski, pp. 201-220, Oxford University Press, and the forthcoming ‘Recent Monacan Archaeology in Albemarle County: Long-Term Perspectives and Colonial Era Representation’ in The Magazine of Albemarle Charlottesville History 80, Spring 2023). With Douglas Seefeldt and Peter Onuf, he co-edited Across the Continent: Jefferson, Lewis and Clark and the Making of America (University of Virginia Press, 2004).

His research and publications explore and expand archaeological research methods to better understand colonial encounters and post-colonial Indigenous persistence and change in Native America. Hantman is interested in indigenous models of time and landscape and their role in archaeological interpretation. He has worked with the Monacan Indian Nation on writing collaborative histories, public outreach, state and federal policy and the repatriation of human remains and artifact collections to the Monacan Ancestral Museum in Amherst, Virginia. Professor Hantman directed the University of Virginia’s Summer Archaeological Field School in Virginia, focusing on Monacan towns and ritual centers, between 1984 and 2012.

Hantman’s research on Indigenous history led to his recent studies of 20th-century eugenics policy and teaching and its effects on the writing of Virginia history. His publications in this area include “Eugenicists, Sentimentalists, Activists: Social Theory at the University of Virginia, 1926-1960,” Magazine of Albemarle County History 76-77:71-100, and “Scholar, Activist, Humanist: A Portrait of Eric Wolf in Charlottesville (1955-1959)”: BEROSE: International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris, May 2023.

Professor Hantman has received the Monacan Tribal Association Award for Contributions to Monacan Culture, the Virginia Social Science Association Anthropology Scholar of the Year Award, the University of Virginia’s All University Teaching Award, and the Jane Moore Essay Award for 2018-2019 from the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society. He has served on several Virginia state boards and commissions overseeing historic landmarks, preservation planning and archaeological public education outreach in Virginia.


361 Items

Language of Materials


Summary Description by Topic

Section I: Monacan History and Archaeology

This section provides a complete list of sources and available links that are related to research that was authored or co-authored by Professor Hantman between 1985 and 2023. The sources listed here were were written in the context of the long-term Monacan archaeological and ethnohistoric research of Monacan history developed over four decades at the University of Virginia. Much of the work post 1990 was developed in conversation and collaboration with the Monacan Indian Nation. Support for much of the work came from the University of Virginia, Virginia Humanities, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and the National Park Service. The list of sources in Section I includes books, monographs, journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries. This section also includes a list of accessible dissertations and master’s theses that were supervised by Professor Hantman.

I a. Monacan History and Archaeology: Books and Monographs by Jeffrey L. Hantman and Hantman with co-authors as noted

I b. Monacan History and Archaeology: Articles and Book Chapters by Jeffrey L. Hantman and Hantman with co-authors as noted

I c. Monacan History and Archaeology: Encyclopedia Articles by Jeffrey L. Hantman

I d. Monacan and Regional Indian History and Archaeology: Dissertations supervised by Hantman; accessible through Proquest or published with revisions and expanded text as noted. All dissertations are available from the University of Virginia Library.

Section II: Monacan Archaeology and History in a Regional Context

This section provides references and links (as available) to key research published on Monacan archaeology, history and culture within a regional (Piedmont Virginia, Coastal Plain (Algonquian/Powhatan) Chesapeake, and Middle Atlantic) contexts.

II a. Monacan Archaeology and History in a Virginia Regional Context: Selected Books

II b. Monacan Archaeology and History in a Virginia Regional Context: Selected Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Section III: American Indians and Thomas Jefferson

This section provides references and links (as available) to writing by Thomas Jefferson on American Indians and American Indian history in Virginia and across North America. The section focuses primarily on secondary sources commenting on Jefferson as archaeologist, ethnographer, scientist, and policy-maker as Virginia governor and U.S. president relating to American Indians in his time.

III a. Thomas Jefferson and American Indians: Books

III b. Thomas Jefferson and Monacan Archaeology and History: Selected Journal articles and book chapters.

Section IV. Post-Colonial (post 1700) Historic Monacan (Siouan/Tutelo) Culture, Language and Oral History: Selected Books and Journal Articles

Section V. American Indian Ethnohistory: Recommended Eastern United States Sources

Section VI. Monacan Websites and Online Resources; Federal Recognition, Monacan Indian Nation In the News (1990-2023)

Section VII. Contemporary Monacan Art and Culture: Web Links This section emphasizes the contemporary survivance of the Monacan people today, including links to the work of Monacan artists, writers, and interpreters of Monacan traditions and cultural outreach and teaching today. Selected sections provide sources on Bertie Branham, Karenne Wood, George Whitewolf, and Victoria Ferguson.

Notes on Naming

I use the terms Indigenous, American Indian, Monacan Indian, and Monacan Indian Nation interchangeably and as virtual equivalents, depending on context. The Monacan people have long used the term “Indian” to refer to their culture and history, as do most Virginia Indigenous people enrolled in Virginia tribes. The term “Monacan Indian Nation,” used in the title of this article, is increasingly preferred by tribal members, emphasizing their sovereignty as a nation within a nation since their 2017 recognition by the United States federal government. Many non-Indians believe “Native American” to be a politically and culturally correct label, and for many issues that span across tribal boundaries in the sphere of American politics, it is used. Context matters, as does following the wishes of Indigenous people to be referred to by names of their own choosing. Note that the Monacans use the term “Indian Nation” for themselves collectively, as in the name “Monacan Indian Nation.” When a museum for indigenous cultures opened as part of the Smithsonian Institution, national Indigenous leaders named it the National Museum of the American Indian. But, in legislation protecting sacred lands and ancestral remains, and in many interactions with the federal government, the term “Native American” is preferred. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, discussed in this essay, is one example of that practice. 2. The term “Ancestral Monacan” refers to the changing social landscape occupied over twelve millennia by the ancestors of the contemporary Monacan people of the Piedmont, Ridge, and Valley and Blue Ridge Mountain physiographic provinces of Virginia. I have previously used the term “Ancestral Monacan Society” to refer to the unique Monacan society bounded by language and cultural practices, distinct from their Algonquian- and Iroquoian-speaking neighbors for the past thousand years. My reference in this essay to “Ancestral Monacan” is inclusive of a deeper history of the Monacans, including the preceding eleven millennia over which many cultural practices were shared across the greater Chesapeake area. The Monacans of the past millennium are descended from those people even as the identity of Monacan as distinct from their neighbors was a historical process. In this essay I refer to Ancestral Monacan to include both the unique aspects of Albemarle/Piedmont histories and the shared historic adaptations that Albemarle’s Monacan ancestors shared over a much larger region.

I have suggested that Monacan and Powhatan populations were approximately equal, ca. 14,000–15,000 each at the time of English settlement. However, the Monacan population was more thinly distributed across a larger area than the area occupied by the coastal Powhatans. Powhatan population estimates are based on John Smith’s travels in the coastal plain, while the Monacan population is estimated from archaeological evidence. See E. Randolph Turner, “Population Distribution in the Virginia Coastal Plain, 8000 BC to AD 1600,” Archaeology of Eastern North America 6 (1978): 60–72; Hantman, “Powhatan’s Relations with the Piedmont Monacans,” Powhatan Foreign Relations, 98–100.

Jeffrey L. Hantman Archive of Monacan Archaeology, History and Culture
Jeffrey L. Hantman
May 24, 2023
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Archives Repository

Jefferson Library, Thomas Jefferson Foundation
Post Office Box 316
Charlottesville VA 22902
(434) 984-7543