University of Virginia Vice President for Research
Sustainability Research Initiatives


Morven Project Leadership

Stewart Gamage+
As the Director of the Morven Project, Stewart Gamage describes Morven as a “destination for experimentation,” both as a historic location with a richly diverse past and as a place for collaboration: an academic free-trade zone where researchers from a range of disciplines can share their work with each other and with the UVa. community, and develop new directions. Located in the University of Virginia Foundation, her office oversees a variety of research projects related to Morven.

Jeffrey Plank
For UVa’s Associate Vice President of Research Jeffrey Plank, Morven’s environmental and social history offers an opportunity to study the interrelationship between human and natural systems, using cross-disciplinary approaches to research and collaborative teaching to identify issues of context and scale, and innovative methodologies to express these dynamics. In addition to engaging leading faculty across the university for the Morven Seminar suites of classes and evening programs, he coordinates the involvement of the Food Collaborative program at Morven.

Laura Voisin George
As Morven’s Historic Research Specialist, Laura Voisin George oversees research related to Morven being done through UVa. classes, the work of individual faculty members and students, and other collaborators. Managing a wide variety of information and resources about Morven and its context, and working with a number of academic and research institutions, she develops opportunities to expand Morven’s academic potential.
See “Surveying the Past”+


Faculty Researchers

Paul Freedman +
Politics, College of Arts and Sciences
Paul Freedman studies public opinion and political communication and teaches about the politics of food. A co-founder of the UVA Food Collaborative, his work uses Morven's agricultural setting to study food policy, including issues of food security, regulation, and sustainability.

Manuel Lerdau +
Environmental Science, College of Arts and Sciences

Karolin Moellmann +
Architecture, School of Architecture
Karolin Moellmann's work investigates meaningful and beautiful concepts and implementations of constructed form, which respond to environmental, social, cultural and spatial context and to user processes, and in forms that animate and surprise. Collaborating with Bill Sherman and group of undergraduate and graduate students in architecture and landscape architecture, Karolin Moellmann is developing and implementing concepts for how to adapt and regenerate the barns at Morven for human habitation.

Fraser Neiman +
Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences
The Director of Archaeology at Monticello, Fraser Neiman is one of the developers of the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS), a database enabling comparison of sites and artifacts – and through them, the cultural dynamics of slave societies – across the Chesapeake, Carolinas and Caribbean, and the Atlantic World in the colonial and antebellum eras ( In sharing with Morven researchers his cross-disciplinary perspectives and his collaborative work with specialists in paleoethnobotany, geology, and forest ecology to understand the connected human and environmental systems that have shaped Monticello, Fraser identifies connections and contexts for Morven’s archaeological and environmental research.

Bill Sherman +
Architecture, School of Architecture

Hank Shugart +
Environmental Science, College of Arts and Sciences
Hank Shugart's extensive research and development of models for environmental data enable the correlation of seemingly unrelated factors to explain change over time, as well as predictive models which can be utilized across spatial and temporal scales. At Morven, students have employed his data collection, analysis, and display methods to propose a program of accelerated forest succession.


Student Researchers

Hayden Bassett A member of the class of 2012, Hayden blends a major in Archaeology and a minor in Architectural History with projects in collections-based analytical archaeology at the Flowerdew Hundred collection (including site analysis and interpretation, exhibit design, and digitization), as well as creating 3D digital structural models with the collaborative of Colonial Williamsburg and UVa.’s IATH - positioning his material culture research between the approaches of science and art. Combining these methodologies into a common mode of investigation of the historic built-environment, Hayden’s analysis of Morven’s historic structures and land use contributes to the research about their significance, and his experience proposes methods of utilizing new technology in their interpretation.

Michelle Rehme Michelle Rehme, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, is a 2010 Harrison Scholar and a member of the Class of 2011. In UVa’s Environmental Thought and Practice program Michelle studies sustainability and concepts for restoring family farm-based agriculture as an honorable and viable profession. As a model for New Farm Economics, Michelle’s project to restore Morven’s organic kitchen garden seeks to revive a Jeffersonian spirit of agricultural experimentation and education at Morven.



Elizabeth Klaczynski Bartlett
Elizabeth Klaczynski Bartlett is completing her Ph.D. in History under Peter Onuf, focusing on changes in attitudes towards mastery and masculinity in eighteenth- and early nineteenth century Virginia. Her work examines how men perceived of themselves as masters of their households and the implications of those perceptions for the cultural landscape of the plantation. Her work brings updated approaches to history and historical biography to the scholarship about William Short and a context for his motivations and experiences in the rapidly changing Atlantic world of the Early Republic.

Alison Bell +
Working with Monticello Archaeology, Alison Bell expands the scholarship about the lives of little-documented non-elite Virginians of the 18th and 19th centuries, bringing together archival materials with archaeological evidence of the structures and material goods of these “middling folk,” and providing context for existing research about the gentry and the enslaved communities at opposition ends of the social spectrum. The associate dean of the College and associate professor of archaeology at Washington and Lee University, Alison has guided the Washington and Lee archaeological field schools at Morven and collaborated with UVa. faculty and students researching Morven’s tenant farmers.

Elizabeth Bollwerk
Elizabeth Bollwerk is completing her Ph.D. in Anthropology at UVa, studying American Indian tobacco smoking pipes from the Middle Atlantic region and their use as diplomatic tools and trading items, in the context of continuity and change in Native American identity before and after the English/European arrival in the mid-16th century. Beth provided leadership for the 2009 UVa archaeology field school at Morven.

Ethan Carr+
Ethan Carr’s work brings together a range of disciplinary approaches to the overlapping fields of landscape architecture, history and preservation, using their perspectives to move beyond existing formats and to pursue updated interpretations and new scholarship. Collaborating with Scot French, his graduate and undergraduate students in architecture, landscape architecture, and architectural history used Morven as a case study for cultural landscape studies, and a focal point for digital presentation methodologies with a range of archival and community-based resources.

Ben Cohen +
The Director of the UVa Food Collaborative, Ben Cohen studies the development of food systems, the implications for the environment and the economic bases of individuals and communities, and the potential for sustainable agriculture and local foodsheds. In the Food Collaborative programs offered at Morven, his courses follow the evolution of industrial food systems and technology, and their inherent challenges to sustainability.

Sean Devlin +
A staff archaeologist and instructor at Washington and Lee University, Sean Devlin is interested in issues of identity construction, particularly as it has been and is used to both create and combat social inequality, and in the relationship between archaeology and local descendant communities of the present. Sean has provided leadership for the Washington and Lee archaeology field schools at Morven in 2009 and 2011, with particular attention to the use of archaeological data recovered from domestic sites associated with tenant farmers in exploring the ways such individuals utilized the objects of daily life to moderate their social position within the plantation system of nineteenth century Virginia.

Bill Ferster +

Eric Field +
Director of the Insight Lab and Lecturer at the UVA School of Architecture, Eric Field develops and applies visualization, simulation and design collaboration tools, and is an expert in computational modeling for design. Eric's research involves applying computational process to design thinking, specifically in modeling buildings within their larger processes and systems - natural, scientific, and behavioral - to understand and actuate those systems more effectively. This includes developing interfaces to assess complex data, web-based information spaces for collaboration (like this web site), and performance-driven aspects of architecture - such as energy performance modeling and sustainability of the Morven barns adaptive reuse.

James Flexner +
James Flexner is a visiting assistant professor of anthropology/sociology at Washington and Lee University who is interested in using archaeological remains from colonial encounters to understand the human role in long-term landscape changes. James participated in the leadership of the Washington and Lee archaeology field school in 2011, providing insights for the work at Morven that could contribute to evidence of the transition from landscapes managed by Virginia Indians, to those dominated by tobacco cash cropping, to a more broad-based agricultural regime. This work, along with ongoing research in the Pacific Islands, falls within James' interest in using comparisons across space and time to understand the ecological, economic, and social forces underlying global colonialism.

movie Scot French, talking about developing
research not exclusive to the academy
Scot French +
Scot French is an historian of race, slavery, and the American South working at the intersection of digital humanities, public history, and cultural landscape studies. Through a series of independent study projects and team-taught courses, he has directed collaborative research aimed at recovering Morven’s history from the archival records and utilizing digital technologies to explore its meaning and connections.

Don Gaylord
An archaeological analyst at Monticello, Don Gaylord's research utilizes both archival and archaeological data to explore the influence of social, economic, and environmental factors on agricultural methods and strategies in central Virginia during the 18th and 19th centuries. Don's research includes sediment sampling at a Morven site used successively by Native Americans, Euro-Americans tenants, and current-day farmers, to examine its record of pollen, phytoliths, and other organic indicators.

Jeffrey Hantman +
An expert in the indigenous peoples of Virginia and their response to European colonization, and an authority in the history and culture of the Monacan Indians, Jeffrey Hantman was one of the principal investigators for the first phase of the *Morven Archaeological Survey, participating in the design of the survey of prehistoric sites and the analysis of field data and artifacts.

Peter Onuf +
A leading authority on Thomas Jefferson, Peter Onuf’s work evaluates Jefferson from the perspective of his time and from ours, illuminating the impact of his wide-ranging interests and carefully constructed intentions on the new nation’s development. Peter Onuf provides guidance for Morven Research’s approaches to studying Jefferson’s involvement at the Indian Camp/Morven property and the aspirations of its owner William Short.

Karen Shriver
Curator, Flowerdew Hundred Collection, University of Virginia Library As part of the *Morven Archaeological Survey Team, Karen Shriver brings expertise in material culture of the 17th through 19th centuries, identifying comparative examples to Morven’s archaeological work in the Tidewater-area collection from Flowerdew Hundred (currently located at Morven), providing context and highlighting new areas for inquiry.

Randall Winston A graduate student in Architecture, Randall Winston's research explores the design of adaptive, open infrastructural systems that work to revitalize communities socially, economically and environmentally through the creation of more productive public spaces. From participating in the Spring 2010 Ecosystem Services and Rural Landscapes classes, he followed up his interest in William Short's proposal to Thomas Jefferson for an alternative to slavery through a summer internship at the Library of Congress working with Short's papers, and presenting his research as part of a panel at the 2011 Virginia Forum conference and a program at the International Center for Jefferson Studies.


Guest Book

R. Grant Gilmore
"I am deeply impressed by the social, historical, and archaeological research opportunities presented by the Morven property stretching back hundreds if not thousands of years. Now is the time to preserve such properties intact for future generations."

R. Grant Gilmore III, PhD (Lond.), RPA, IFA
Island Archaeologist and Director
St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research