Archaeology, architecture, and Alexander Spotswood: redefining the Georgian worldview at the Enchanted Castle, Germanna, Orange County, Virginia
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One of the major concerns surrounding the use of the Georgian Worldview has been the oversight of the concept of agency within elite materiality. This dissertation examines the colonial mansion of Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood at Germanna, colloquially known as the Enchanted Castle. The home was built in 1718 and destroyed by fire in the 1750s. It is believed to be one of the first privately-owned colonial mansions to be constructed in the Georgian style. Through a detailed analysis of the archaeology and architecture of the mansion remains, this work illustrates that the tenants of Georgian ideology—individuality, control, and balance—were achieved not solely through the use of rigid symmetry in appearance and style, but through the construction process itself. The Enchanted Castle, built into the side of a knoll on the edge of the Virginia frontier, was capacious, elaborately designed, and ornately decorated. By separating himself from the native-born elites, both physically and stylistically, Spotswood showcased his superior knowledge on English style and materiality and expressed himself as an individual. The complex, a nine part Palladian plan, was constructed using a unique combination of locally-procured materials: brick, schist, slate, sandstone, timber, and iron for nails. Although the building was not completely symmetrical, Spotswood designed a home that had the potential for balance, but symmetry and control were presented in the construction techniques and stylistic details. The construction methods he used at Germanna, as well as the design and style of the numerous other building projects he directed in the colony, helped to usher in the Georgian style that became so prevalent throughout the colony in the eighteenth century.