Dennis J. Pogue, PhD, has more than 35 years experience working as an archaeologist, museum administrator, and historic preservationist in Maryland and Virginia. He holds the Doctorate in Anthropology, with an emphasis in historical archaeology, from The American University, in Washington, DC. In addition to teaching, he serves as a consultant to historical and historic preservation agencies, museums, and private citizens in studying, interpreting, and preserving their historic resources. During the course of 25 years working at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens, he directed the archaeological research program and oversaw all preservation related activities on the historic property. He managed several major restoration and preservation related projects, including directing the research and then reconstructing a variety of structures, such as the stone whiskey distillery, the 16-sided treading barn and four associated farm buildings, the dung repository, and the blacksmith’s shop. Among the original 18th-century structures that he restored were the servant’s hall, the gardener’s house, and several rooms in the Mansion.
His scholarly interest lies in tracing the development of American society during the course of the 17th and 18th centuries, with an emphasis on the plantation culture of the Chesapeake Bay region. Studying the material culture of Chesapeake slavery, and especially documenting variability in the character of the habitations of the enslaved, is an ongoing focus of his research. He co-directed an NEH-funded two-year project to record more than 30 slave houses from around the state of Virginia, and that effort is continuing. Dr. Pogue has published extensively and lectured widely on a broad range of topics relating to historical archaeology, vernacular architecture, early American history, George Washington, and Mount Vernon. His book, Founding Spirits: George Washington and the Beginnings of the American Whiskey Industry, was published by Harbour Books in 2011, and received a silver medal in regional non-fiction in the 2012 Independent Publishers Book Awards. His writing has appeared in numerous collected volumes, in professional journals such as Historical Archaeology, Winterthur Portfolio, and The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, and in popular outlets such as American History, Early American Life, and The Magazine Antiques.