This mug, with a hand-painted floral design, is modeled on an English pearlware piece unearthed in 1984 during archaeological excavations at Monticello. The fragment was found at the site of a log cabin on Mulberry Row, a 1,000-foot-long lane which served as Monticello’s center of light industry throughout Jefferson’s adult life. The activity along this stretch included the work of blacksmiths, nailers, spinners, weavers, and cabinet makers who both labored and lived along Mulberry Row; their work was supervised daily by Jefferson.
Although the pearlware fragment dates from the period of Jefferson’s residence at Monticello, archaeologists and researchers have not yet ascertained the identity of its original owner. The piece may have belonged to a slave family living in one of six dwellings along Mulberry Row, or it may have been used by one of the free white artisans whom Jefferson hired for various tasks. Continuing excavations on the sites and structures of Monticello’s busiest avenue may provide additional clues.