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History unearthed at James Madison's Va. estate

Sunday - 11/17/2013, 12:39pm  ET

Associated Press

ORANGE, Va. (AP) -- In the shadow of James Madison's Montpelier, archaeologists and metal-detecting hobbyists are teaming up to unearth the history that lies beneath the 2,650-acre Virginia estate.

Armed with high-tech equipment and age-old tools, these oft-rivals are rediscovering land belonging to the nation's fourth president and using history to bridge the gap between their communities.

So far about 40 people have taken part in the program that started last year, welcoming metal-detector specialists and hobbyists to help uncover historic areas dating to the 18th century.

The Montpelier Foundation also invites members of the public to work side by side with its staff through a separate program.

They've helped uncover sites including slave quarters, Civil War camps, a blacksmith's workshop and tobacco barns -- often found faster than traditional methods.

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