Sometime around 1840, one of George Mason’s sons, John, wrote down recollections of his childhood at Gunston Hall. Providing an account for his children and grandchildren, John Mason recalled what plantation life was like with his famous father over a half-century before. While it was not his intent to describe what the plantation looked like, he does mention a number of aspects of the place in passing. Landscape features are not described in detail or given specific locations in John's recollections; nevertheless, this is the only known eyewitness account of the 18th Century plantation and has provided a wealth of clues for further study.

Interpreting the 18th Century landscape is further confused by the fact that Gunston Hall has been continuously occupied since the 1750’s. The land has been used for many different purposes and numerous buildings have gone up and come down. In spite of all these disturbances to the ground, clues to the appearance to George Mason’s landscape are being teased from various nooks and crannies by Gunston Hall’s archaeologists.

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