The archaeological findings at Riverside consist of a wide variety of features and artifacts dating from prehistoric Native Americans to present day. Features mainly associated with 19th century outbuildings include foundations, post holes, hearths, walkways, and a pit cellar. Artifacts include a variety of objects used in the construction of structures and in everyday activities by all the people who lived at Riverside during its history. Prehistoric Native American artifacts include stone tools; such as spear points, arrowheads, scrapers, drills, and the byproducts of their manufacture; and ceramic pottery fragments. Artifacts from the historic occupation include nails, window glass, bricks, ceramic dishes, glass bottles, eating utensils, buttons, marbles, smoking pipes, combs, rings, coins, cookware, doll parts, toy teaware, a clothes iron, animal bones, plant seeds, and wood charcoal.
The archaeological findings at Riverside are used to interpret the past and to educate in the present. Artifacts are used in educational activities at Riverside, as well as local schools and libraries. Professional archaeologists have used the information from the outbuildings to compare to their own work at other outbuilding plantations. Although we have learned much about Riverside’s history, its former outbuildings, and the people who lived and worked there, there is still much that can be learned from the archaeological work. As more buildings are discovered and excavated, some of which were previously unknown, researchers are constantly reinterpreting the organization of and changes to the complex of outbuildings common to many 19th and early 20th century plantations and farms.
Many of the questions that archaeologists ask concern how the plantation changed over time physically and socially? How did technology affect the use and placement of outbuildings on the landscape? What affect did the end of slavery have on Riverside, socially, economically, and physically? Also, since a large amount of data has been collected, archaeologists are focusing their research more on the people who lived and worked in the outbuildings, such as the lives of enslaved people and tenants? What were their relationships to the Farnsley and Moremen families through time? What were their lives like?