Newsletter of the African-American Archaeology Network
Number 19, Early Winter 1997John P. McCarthy,
Slavery and Consumerism: A Case Study from Central Virginia
Barbara J. Heath, Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest
Within the past decade, historians have explored the economic
lives of people in bondage, tracing the internal economies operating
within slave societies of the Caribbean and the American South
(e.g. Morgan 1983, Berlin and Morgan 1995, McDonald 1993, Schlotterbeck
1995). Plantation and shop accounts, diaries and legal documents
together reveal that slaves actively participated in local economic
networks. These findings surely have important ramifications for
the archaeological interpretation of plantation and urban slave
sites, but have as yet met with limited attention. With few exceptions, archaeologists
have failed to adequately explore the roles of slaves as active
consumers and producers and the implications of this economic
behavior on the archaeological record (Adams and Boling 1989; Sanford
1994; Stine et al. 1996).
Excavations at a slave quarter at Thomas Jefferson's Poplar
Forest plantationin Bedford County, Virginia have raised questions
about the ways in which the site's occupants acquired material
possessions. The slaves who lived at the quarter from circa 1790-1812
did not materially benefit from proximity to their master since
for most this period, Jefferson was an absentee landowner. The
quarters were destroyed shortly after he finished constructing
a "retreat" house for himself on the property and became
a more regular resident.
Archaeologists recovered a small, but diverse, assemblage of
artifacts from three house-yard areas discovered on the quarter
site, including a minimum of 131 ceramic and 29 glass vessels;
fragments of cast iron pots; carpenters', coopers' and general
purpose tools; adornment items, floral and faunal materials, lead
shot and gun flints, marbles, pipes, writing slate fragments, furniture
hardware and padlocks.
The presence of some artifacts can be attributed to the plantation
provisioning system, under which the overseer allotted preserved
meat, grains, whiskey, coarse cloth and shoes to individuals, a
pot and bed to women who married within the plantation community,
and construction materials for housing. No records survive to suggest
that other objects were purchased by Jefferson or his farm managers
for the slaves' use.
Clearly, most artifacts recovered from the Poplar Forest quarter
cannot be interpreted using the conventional wisdom of provisions
or of planter "hand-me-downs." While individual artifacts
may have been cast-offs from the overseer's household, there is
no observable time lag among the ceramic assemblages to indicate
systematic provisioning in this manner. Documentary evidence from
local stores suggested another avenue of inquiry.
The records of John Hook, a Virginia merchant, include accounts
heldby enslaved men and women living on plantations near his stores.
These accounts begin at his New London shop in Bedford County (1771-1776),
and cover accounts recorded during the years he operated a store
in neighboring Franklin County (1800-1810). During this period,
both counties were dominated by small farms, where only a tiny
minority of planters owned more than 20 slaves.
The Hook records from New London list a single enslaved man
from Poplar Forest as an account holder. Indeed, the other slaves
listed in the daybooks and ledgers represent only a fraction of
the enslaved population living in the area. Though apparently not
available to most men and women living in bondage, shop accounts
do provide the best records of slaves' economic activities outside
The accounts of 16 slaves from at least 12 different plantations
record purchases made at Hook's New London store between 1771 and
1776. Cloth, clothing, sewing supplies and accessories such as
ribbon, twist and buttons were among the most popular purchases.
One man bought a necklace, another a pair of knee buckles. Slaves
commonly purchased rum, brandy, molasses and sugar. They bought
tools, personal goods such as looking glasses and razors, and cooking
implements, including a frying pan, pewter dish, stoneware bowl
and "part of a pot." These customers paid for their
purchases with cash, handicrafts such as brooms and baskets, raccoon
skins, chickens, eggs, cotton and corn. Of 13 accounts, more than
half were settled without resort to cash (HPLN; HML).
Accounts for 35 or 36 slaves doing business at Hook's Franklin
County shop survive from the period 1800-1808. A preliminary analysis
of the data suggests that plantation size did not necessarily dictate
slaves' access to earnings or goods which could be used to purchase
The Franklin County accounts reveal that slaves bought a more
diverse assemblage of goods between 1800-1808 than did their Bedford
predecessors in 1771-1776. This may be due to an increase in available
stock over time, to an improved supply system, or to increasing
opportunities for individuals to participate in the marketplace.
As in the earlier period, cloth, sewing supplies, adornment items
and clothing represent the most expensive andmost purchased items.
Of 35 active accounts, all but four record purchases of something
from these categories of goods.
Franklin County slaves commonly purchased food and alcohol,
including whiskey, sugar, molasses, salt and pepper, shad, herring,
bacon, plums and coffee. Items associated with food preparation,
storage and serving were also in demand. One man bought four pewter
plates in 1800 and a dozen knives and forks the following year;
another a dozen plates, and a third a set of tea cups and saucers.
Accounts record purchases of a variety of ceramic, pewter, tin
and glass vessels (HPLH).
Other selections by enslaved customers include: horn combs,
wash bowls, chamberpots, razors, spectacles, and smoking pipes.
Several individuals invested in tools and raw materials. Slaves
bought many types of knives, as well as awls, augers, pruners,
iron, nails, bar lead and molds, leadshot and powder. Six of the
35 active account holders purchased padlocks; one bought a doorlock
Bondsmen and women settled their debts with cash, goods, or
services. Their most common source of income appears to have been
agricultural produce. Hook and others purchased grain, fodder,
cotton, tobacco, dried apples, and even dogs from slave customers,
yet nearly one-quarter of these account holders failed entirely
to settle their debts (HPLH).
Hook's records also provide a rare insight into the system
of economic alliances that existed between slaves. Men and women
shared profits from harvests, paid debts through each other's accounts,
and made purchases for family and friends. They not only bought,
lent and sold goods to each other, but combined resources to purchase
a single item. Theodorick Webb's Tom and Jacob Webb's Isaac shared
payment for a hat. Others are recorded as purchasing "part
of a pitcher" or "part of a pot."
Equally intriguing is the network of economic ties established
between slaves and free planters, mediated through Hook's shops.
Accounts record these alliances as payments or credits, but leave
us to wonder how they were established. Slaves provided services
as varied as waggonage, coal production and "physicking"
horses to Franklin County's free citizens. These records provide
important evidence of the ties that slaves established within a
community whose boundaries extended well beyond the limits of
individual plantations; of slaves' physical mobility, and of the
skills that men and women developed to meet their material aspirations.
Archaeologists studying slavery have been hampered by the notion
that the flow of goods was always unidirectional: masters gave
slaves new provisions or recycled old or undesirable goods through
the quarter. If most of the material objects that survive archaeologically
were given rather than chosen, it becomes nearly impossible to
see enslaved people as active creators of their material worlds.
The study of colonoware has become so important to archaeologists
because this pottery has generally been believed to represent one
of the few surviving examples of objects controlled by slaves,
acquired outside of the influence of the master, to fit specific
If, however, slaves are seen as active consumers, an attempt
can be made to see the material world from the slaves' perspective.
The problem, of course, is that men and women living in bondage
acquired their possessions both actively and passively, and distinguishing
between the chosen and the given at the artifact level may be impossible
in many cases.
To begin to address this dilemma, archaeologists need to look
beyond individual artifacts to assemblages of related objects and,
more broadly, to systems of interrelated objects and features which
may preserve evidence of varied economic activities at dwelling
sites. Familiarity with the shop accounts are helpful in making
a start. For example, some types of artifacts may be more sensitive
indicators of active acquisition than others. Hook's accounts demonstrate
that slaves most often purchased objects relating to clothing,
sewing and adornment. Slaves bought these items to supplement inadequate
provisions and to express themselves in ways that plantation-issued supplies
precluded (Heath in press).
On a broader level, archaeologists should consider the possibility
that the men and women who lived at quarters were active producers
of goods with some level of independent economic interests. The
extent of these interests, and the ability to produce, varies through
time and space, but ample evidence exists to negate the simplistic
notion that slaves were always passive recipients of objects. At
the Poplar Forest quarter, several lines of evidence suggest that
the inhabitants produced goods independent of the larger plantation economy.
Clues include tobacco pipes, made of local stone, and stone wasters, the
byproducts of work by at least one resident pipe maker. Archaeologists also
recovered a variety of tools, including pocket knives, a gimlet,
files, two croze plane irons used in barrel making, and various
tines that appear to be parts of rakes or harrows. Rather than
reflecting theft or resistance to work regimens, these tools may
be viewed as evidence of ownership and of production of goods carried
out within the quarter. Runaway advertisements from the mid-18th
through the mid-19th centuries demonstrate that some slaves owned
their own tools and took them with them when they fled the plantation. The
Hook accounts also record the purchase of tools by slaves, presumably for
their own use.
Many slaves paid off their debts with agricultural products,
most likely grown on plantation provision grounds or in house-yard
gardens. While the quantities of goods varied between store customers,
most merchandise was sold by the bushel, and some by the barrel.
The presence of barrel making tools and pieces of agricultural
implements found at the Poplar Forest quarter may, in fact, be
residues of the process of independently producing and packaging
crops for sale or barter. Slaves participating in the marketplace must
have created storage spaces large enough to accommodate their
surplus, dry enough to keep it from spoiling, and secure from theft.
These may have been within the house, in lean-tos or porches, or
in separate sheds within the house-yard complex. Yards potentially
hold clues to the location of work spaces, gardens, storage areas
and enclosures relating to economic activities (Heath and Moncure
Four keys, a padlock, pieces for a minimum of eight additional
padlocks and parts of two stock locks were discovered within the
structures and yards of the Poplar Forest quarter. Locks for doors,
chests and other storage areas may have provided safeguards against
theft during the long hours that slaves were absent from the quarters.
Coins are another obvious marker of economic activity. While
it is likely that some coins functioned as charms and adornment
items as well, it seems clear that most coins should be taken at
face value -- as evidence that slaves were participating in the
economic life of the community.
Finally, the locations of slave sites relative to the "big
house" should not pre-determine our interpretation of the
artifacts found there, nor should archaeologists pre-judge the
economic opportunities afforded to plantation slaves based on their
status as house servant, artisan or field hand. Unless strong evidence
exists (either through observed time lag or direct matches between
objects found in the quarters and the bighouse), the definition
of objects as "hand-me-downs" should be suspect.
In thinking about the material culture of Virginia slaves,
Patricia Samford has asked, "How did the physical quality
of life differ for field laborers, who had fewer chances to earn
money by doing chores or bartering produce and less access to cast-off
possessions from the owner?" At the Hermitage, Larry McKee
has found no qualitative differences in possessions between domestic
slaves and those working in the fields. "Field slaves" he
concluded, "might have received fewer castoffs from the mansion, but
living further from the overseer's eyes gave them more freedom
to hunt and trade." Both of these views acknowledge the possibility
of independent economic activity within the quarters. Each, however,
places economic opportunity in opposing spheres; Samford near the
big house, and McKee with the fieldhands. Both arguments rest
on assumptions which need to be questioned. Did field slaves customarily
have fewer economic opportunities or, conversely, more free time
to garden and trade?
While this is a topic in need of much further research, the
Hook accounts reviewed here have some relevance. They indicate
that slaves from small holdings, where one or two individuals filled
a variety of roles, had access to the shop, as well as those living
on larger, more socially stratified plantations. Some men formed
economic alliances, sharing the labor of bringing a crop to market
and dividing the proceeds. These networks may have been based on
kinship, friendship, or shared skills; factors outside of the
plantation hierarchy. To understand slaves as self-motivated actors,
archaeologists must look beyond the roles dictated to them by planters.
While Hook's accounts reflect the specialized activities of
a relatively small number of people, they preserve within them
elements of other, more common economic activities. The sale of
foodstuffs and handicrafts reflects their production within the
plantation setting; the bartering of services for goods surely
went on beyond the store as well as between its customers. These
documents allow archaeologists to understand the range of activities people
employed to meet their needs, and in so doing, provide us with
new tools to critically re-examine our own interpretations.
John Hook Papers, Duke University
Petty Ledger (New London) 1771-1776 [HPLN]
Mercantile Ledger 1773-1775 [HML]
Petty Ledger (Hale's Ford) 1805-1809 [HPLH]
Adams, William H., and Sarah J. Boling
1989 Status and Ceramics for Planters and Slaves on Three
Georgia Coastal Plantations. Historical Archaeology 23(1):69-96.
Berlin, Ira, and Philip D. Morgan, eds.
1995 The Slaves' Economy, Independent Production by Slaves
in the Americas. Frank Cass, London.
In Press Buttons, Beads and Buckles: Self Definition
within the Bounds of Slavery. In Archaeological Studies of Ethnicity. Edited by Maria Franklin and Garrett Fesler. The Colonial Williamsburg
Heath, Barbara and Amber Moncure
1997 "The Little Spots Allow'd Them": Archaeology
of African American Yards. Ms. on file, Thomas Jefferson's Poplar
Forest, Forest, Virginia.
McDonald, Roderick A.
1993 The Economy and Material Culture of Slaves, Goods
and Chattels on the Sugar Plantations of Jamaica and Louisiana.
Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge.
1995 The Earth is Their Witness. The Sciences 35(2):36-41.
Martin, Ann Smart
1993 Buying into the World of Goods; Eighteenth-Century
Consumerism and the Retail Trade from London to the Virginia Frontier. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor.
Morgan, Philip D.
1983 The Ownership of Property by Slaves in the Mid-Nineteenth-Century Low Country. The Journal of Southern History, 49(3): 399-420).
1996 The Archaeology of African-American Slavery and Material
Culture. The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Series 53(1):87-114.
1994 Plantation Slavery in Piedmont Virginia. In Historical
Archaeology of the Chesapeake, edited by Paul Shackel and Barbara
Little, pp. 115-30. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington.
Schlotterbeck, John T.
1995 The Internal Economy of Slavery in Rural Piedmont
Virginia. In The Slaves' Economy, Independent Production by Slaves
in the Americas, edited by Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan, pp.
170-81. Frank Cass, London.
Stine, Linda F., Melanie A. Cabak and Mark D. Groover
1996 Blue Beads as African-American Cultural Symbols. Historical Archaeology 30(3):49-75.
From the Editor:
Subscription Rates, Etc.
Lots of good stuff in this issue mostly thanks to the efforts
of contributing regional editors "Skip" Stewart-Abernathy,
Paul Farnsworth, and Barbara Heath. Barbara's essay on consumerism
is drawn from her 1997 SHA paper, and I thank her for publishing
it here first.
I want to take this opportunity to raise a couple of issues
pertaining to African-American Archaeology subscription policies,
especially subscription rates. Currently, subscriptions are only
$5.00/year. This has been the rate since Tom Wheaton first took
on the newsletter in 1993. However, this fee is not adequate to
cover the cost of overseas subscriptions (which must be put in
envelopes and for which postage is considerably higher than for domestic
addresses) nor does it cover the costs of servicing institutional subscriptions
which often require the preparation of invoices, or other annoying
Further, the newsletter has observed an informal policy of
providing subscriptions to Third World scholars on a complementary
basis. We currently have 17 such subscribers out of a total subscriber
base of 124. I would like to continue this policy. Finally, I have
been asked if a special rate could be implemented to encourage
students' subscriptions. Accordingly, a new subscription fee schedule
is needed to address these issues. Beginning in January, 1998,
subscription rates will be as follows:
Student subscriptions from U. S. addresses: $4.00
Individual subscriptions from U. S. addresses: $6.00
Institutional subscriptions from U. S. addresses: $8.00
Individual and institutional subscriptions from Canadian and
Non-Third World Overseas addresses: $8.00 (payable by check in
any currency at current exchange rates)
Reminder -- your address label indicates the last year for which
your subscription is paid. Please check it and consider renewing
your subscription before the new rates go into effect!
I hope that you like the new "look" of African-American
Archaeology. I will be trying to add new features as time goes
on. This issue introduces a compilation of Internet Resources.
Your suggestions for improving the newsletter are always welcome,
and submissions for inclusion in the newsletter are especially
welcome. The frequency and content of the newsletter are largely
up to you, the readers, so send me some stuff! Submissions on disk
(Word, Rich Text Format, or Textfiles) or via e-mail are encouraged.
John P. McCarthy, Editor/Publisher
Slave Cabin Excavations at Rocky Shoals
(3MN1708), Mongomery County, Arkansas
Roger Coleman, Ouachita National Forest
Archeological investigation at Rocky Shoals, a Forest Service
campground in Montgomery County, Arkansas, was undertaken in 1996.
The site contains the remains of a mid-19th century domicile, believed
to have been a slave cabin. The terrace at Rocky Shoals had never
been farmed and accordingly the site possessed a rare degree of
integrity. Forest Service Archeologists were assisted by dedicated
Arkansas Archeological Society volunteers who donated over 560
hours to the project. Over 30 square meters of the site were excavated,
resulting in the recovery of 884 historic artifacts.
The 40 acre tract containing Rocky Shoals was patented on March
1, 1855, by John Cook, a prosperous farmer and mill owner. Cook
died 3 years later and probate records indicate that he owned four
slaves. The historic component at Rocky Shoals is believed to have
resulted from a brief occupation by one or more of Cook's slaves,
who may have provided labor for a nearby mill. Rocky Shoals is
perhaps the second rural slave residence to be excavated in Arkansas.
Excavations revealed a five-meter square, single room, log
structure with pen chimney on one gable, and a before-hearth cellar.
Log sills rested directly on the ground surface. Two distinct fireplace
hearths were identified. The first, at historic ground level, indicates
that the cabin initially had a dirt floor. The second hearth, raised
30 cm with embankment from the cellar, which would have necessitated
the addition of a wooden floor. This latter hearth supported an
ash-filled basin, interpreted as part of a bake oven. The yard
surrounding the residence contained a diffuse sheet midden. Many
of the artifacts were burned, suggesting their disposal from the
fireplace. One other historic feature, a flat-bottomed pit was
located five meters downslope. It is interpreted as a storage pit.
The faunal assemblage is consistent with other slave sites
and includes inexpensive cuts of meat: mostly forelimbs and heads,
highly fractured for marrow extraction. Cow, pig and deer are represented.
Venison cuts were also from the extremities of the animal, suggesting
that the inhabitants were not hunting for their own use. Gun parts
and bullets are conspicuously absent, and glass from commercial
potables is very rare. Ten glass sherds represent a minimum of
A substantial collection of mid-19th century ceramics was recovered
that is atypical of plantation assemblages where inexpensive hollow-wares
are the norm. The Rocky Shoals inhabitants possessed a variety
of vessels, ranging from inexpensive moca ware bowls to more costly
transfer-printed plates. Identifiable formal vessels include a
teapot, four saucers, a bowl, two cups, and eight plates. It is
possible that these ceramics were originally purchased for use
in John Cook's own household prior to making their way into slave
households, in contrast to the practices of large plantations, where
less costly ceramics were specifically purchased for slave use.
Excavations at U. S. Grant National Historic
Leslie "Skip" Stewart-Abernathy, Arkansas Archaeological Survey
From 1995 through 1997 archeological investigations at the
Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site in St. Louis, Missouri
have been conducted under a joint research project of the National
Park Service's Midwest Archeology Center and the University of
Missouri's Southeastern Archaeological Center.
Excavations have concentrated in refuse disposal areas, a slave
kitchen, and a period roadway. The most significant aspect of the
investigation hasbeen the discovery of intact midden deposits
under the floor of the slave kitchen dating between 1838 and 1860.
A large variety of cultural material, ethnobotanical remains, as
well as zooarcheological specimens, were recovered reflecting day-to-day
activities associated with food preparation. A cache of artifacts
suggesting a votive or "white magic" offering was also
recovered. It included large glass drawer pulls, prehistoric artifacts, brass
door knobs, and spoon bowls as well as clay marbles and buttons.
For further information contact Dr. James E. Price, University
of Missouri, Southeastern Missouri Archeological Center, P. O.
Box 6, Naylor, MO 63953, (573) 399-2216.
Summarized from page D-1 of the Washington Post, Oct.
The Blackstone Cemetery has been the final resting place for
the members of one of Howard County's most prolific and once-wealthy
African-American families for more than 100 years. Now, commercial
development threatens to cut-off access to this cemetery, nestled
along side I-95, and while the cemetery proper is not in immediate
danger of destruction, its plight illustrates the increasing danger
development of the greater Washington-Baltimore region poses to
old graves as builders and developers scour the region for land. In
Howard County alone, it is estimated that hundreds of old graves
have been isolated or ruined by development.
In response to this problem the Maryland General Assembly established an
Office of Cemetery Oversight to help enforce existing laws protecting graves,
but most enforcement falls to county officials who review development proposals.
Over 2,500 residential building sites were proposed in Howard County
For now the Blackstone Cemetery is safe, even if access has
been reduced to a narrow foot-path, and bulldozers worked within
the 50-foot buffer required by Howard County planners.
Slave Ship Artifacts Exhibited
Summarized from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel Digital
Edition, Feb. 7, 1997
Over 7,500 artifacts recovered from the British slave ship
Henrietta Marie were exhibited from February through May of this
year at the Historical Museum of Southern Florida in Miami. This
exhibit had previously sparked controversy during an engagement
in Los Angeles, where local activists had complained that it overemphasized
African participation in the slave trade.
In 1701 the Henrietta Marie set sail from London bound for
Calabar, West Africa, now part of Cameroon. There the ship's crew
exchanged beads, weapons, and metal for African captives. It took
14 weeks to ferry the human cargo to Kingston, Jamaica. A total
of 188 people were exchanged for sugar, spices, and rum before
the Henrietta Marie set sail for home. The return cargo also included
a significant quantity of beads and pewter that had not been successfully traded
in Africa. It is thought that the ship fell victim to a hurricane as
it passed through the Florida straits. Pushed onto a reef, it
sank in 40 feet of water near Key West. Nine British crew members
The wreck was first discovered by divers in 1972. However,
the newspaper account provides no detail concerning the investigation
of the site.
The exhibit included 90 pairs of shackles, pewterware, elephant
tusks, firearms, and an extensive collection of glass trade beads.
While the artifacts were presented in glass display cases, a reproduction
pair of shackles was included that visitors could handle. The exhibit
also included a postscript: the story of a group of African-American
scuba divers who placed a monument at the ship wreck site in 1992
to honor the memory of all Africans who suffered during the slave
African-American Archaeology at Stratford
Hall Plantation, Virginia
Douglas W. Sanford, Mary Washington College
Stratford Hall Plantation, owned and operated by the Robert
E. Lee Memorial Association, is best known for its premier Georgian
architecture and as the home of several generations of Virginia's
Lee family, including signers of the Declaration of Independence
and the Confederacy's leading general. From the standpoints of
history and archaeology, it embodies over two hundred years (1710s-1910s)
of plantation economics, society, and culture. Surprisingly enough,
for all its fame Stratford possesses little surviving documentation for
on-site events, physical features, and social arrangements. Hence
the need for archaeology has long been recognized and supported
by the Memorial Association, mostly in terms of locating and defining
extant archaeological resources on its land holdings, and similarly,
examining the structure and evolution of the landscape surrounding
the plantation core, consisting of the mansion house, its supporting
outbuildings, and a mixture of formal gardens and utilitarian yards.
Major archaeological campaigns occurred in the 1930s and 1970s,
with the former concentrating on information for the mansion complex's
reconstruction, while the latter emphasized probability-based sampling
of the modern plantation's 1,700 acres. More recently, Mary Washington
College's Department of and Center for Historic Preservation implemented
both resource specific searches in the 1980s and more recently
a landscape sampling program. Given the prevailing survey and sampling-based
approach employed at Stratford, the theme of African-American archaeology,
while constantly present and considered, has never been the sole
focus of research. That situation may change in the near future
as survey and data compilation efforts come to a close and bear
fruit, including the need and opportunity to name a more specific
research agenda. Nonetheless, certain now familiar facets of African-American
and plantation archaeology have arisen in the research efforts
to date at Stratford.
An inclusive approach to the topic of landscape within the
plantation core, wherein this realm is conceived as encompassing
people, work, and social relations as well as gardens and plant
communities, has promoted the inclusion of African Americans in
a number of ways. First, as the prime constituents of the plantation's
labor force African Americans actually constructed much of the
historic landscape. Second, these people exerted a constant presence
within the landscape, whether as workers and/or residents, or as
slaves who could effect their own vernacular landscapes at given
times and places. Third, as essential components of the plantation's
political economy, slaves and slave-related spaces were planned
for and the latter were materially instituted, and subsequently,
these spaces should reflect changes in plantations' relations of
production as well as the variable circumstances of plantation
economics and ideologies.
Artifact assemblages derived from the 1990s landscape testing
operations index a number of work spaces that likely were dominated
by African-American slaves. As usual in plantation studies, problems
concerning the separation of enslaved from non-slave contributions
to these area assemblages remain. Similarly, other, more concentrated
domestic middens on the property incorporate the variable mixture
and influences from slaves, servants, hired workers, and Lee family
members. For example, a diffuse midden or artifact scatter characterizes
the area now termed the "West Garden", but which functioned
originally as a service yard framed by such utilitarian outbuildings as
a stable, store, office, and coach house. Recent field information
andartifact analyses demonstrate that this multi-purpose work
space contained materials and features for brick making, animal
butchery, and architectural chores. The regular presence of domestic
artifacts within the service yard assemblage suggests that slaves
lived in some of the outbuildings that held other primary functions.
While corresponding to a residential pattern recorded in documents
and by archaeologists at other plantation sites, this particular finding
is noteworthy for Stratford's future interpretive and research
plans that concern slaves' varying living conditions.
On the opposite side of the mansion house, a building complex
that contained a smokehouse, meathouse, well, and a laundry/kitchen
structure represents another work area at which slaves comprised
the primary labor force. Preliminary testing here has revealed
a high degree of stratigraphic and organic material preservation,
with the latter condition made possible by extensive deposits of
ash and charcoal. This area forms a prime opportunity to look
closer at foodways for the plantation community in general, but
also for which slaves were responsible for most preparation, storage,
and food preservation activities. Refuse middens in yards adjacent
to this complex should provide additional information about foodways
and meal preparation processes.
So far only one documented slave residence area within the
plantation core has been investigated in any detail. The single
documentary reference for this site is an 1801 insurance plat that
records two "negro quarters" measuring 15 x 32 feet each.
The quarters were described as single story buildings of stone
with wood roofs, while a surveyor's sketch indicated central chimneys.
The structures' more substantial material and in-line orientation
were in keeping with the formal brick buildings of the nearby mansion
complex, and all together this evidence suggests that, as on other "great"
plantations, these "home house" quarters served as residences
for slaves who worked in domestic or artisan trades. Currently, two
quarters reconstructed in the late 1930s dominate the site area
and unfortunately, these restoration period buildings' installation
probably destroyed the foundations of the original quarters. Based
on the recovered artifacts, the quarters is estimated to have been
occupied between the late 18th century (post-1770) and the early
19th century (ca. 1820).
While the area today can be characterized as a picturesque
setting of grass and scattered trees, archaeological testing demonstrates
that a much different landscape once prevailed here in the form
of large, but relatively shallow, ravine. During the latter half
of the 18th century the ravine was backfilled with a variety of
deposits, such as substantial domestic assemblages sandwiched between
layers of architectural refuse from the mansion complex and leftover
soils and materials from nearby brick making. Given the distance from
other residential sites, the domestic artifacts (ceramics, glass,
personal items, and faunal remains) should correspond to the quarters'
occupants. A few fragments of colonoware are present as well, further
supporting an African-American association. Of interest in this
respect is the overall lack of colonoware within the plantation
core, including the areas closer to the main house.
Finally, previous survey work at Stratford has located several
other domestic sites elsewhere on the plantation situated at varying
distances from the mansion complex. None of these sites has undergone
more than a preliminary assessment, and consequently, while some
correspond to slave quarters, others could represent tenant farmer
residences. Stratford is now considering a comparative research
agenda that would involve examining a number of these archaeological
sites that, as the quarters for various laborers, index a considerable
portion of the plantation's spatial and temporal range. In this
case, the known sites date between ca. 1740 and the mid-19th century
and correspond to a tidewater, Chesapeake plantation context.
Archaeological and historical research at Stratford by Fraser Neiman
in the 1970s already suggests one pattern of change for these sites,
namely the removal of outlying slave quarters in favor of quarters
placed closer to the main house, but at a distance that maintained
the separation from the plantation core. This movement occurred
during and after the Revolutionary War era and, in part, denotes
how Chesapeake planters adapted to new agricultural markets and practices.
Changes in quartering arrangements also instituted a new ideology of
slavery more concerned with control and rational management. Conversely then,
the earlier quarters presumably encoded a different style of management and
living conditions for enslaved African Americans.
For the near future, more detailed analyses of the artifact
assemblages generated to date and initiating the quarters comparison
mark the directions for African-American archaeology research at
Stratford. Since several of the assemblages and sites are not documented
as to the ethnic affiliation of the people who occupied the buildings,
the usual nagging question of"Whose stuff is this?"
will remain an interpretive issue. Most likely the Stratford evidence
will neither resolve that question in all cases, nor the methodological
issue of confidently ascertaining from artifacts who, within the
overall lower class, was free, enslaved, European-, or African-American. Nonetheless,
combining the circumstantial attributions of the Stratford sites
with the comparative approach advocated here and employed elsewhere by
other researchers, offers a means for producing meaningful cultural
statements and for constructing a data base with regional implications
about working class society.
Book Reviews and Notes
Roberta Hughes Wright and Wilber B. Hughes, III, 1996,
Lay Down Body: Living History in African American Cemeteries. Visible
Ink Press, Detroit. xxvii + 339 pp. Bibliography and index. $17.95
This volume is concerned with African-American cemeteries:
their significance in African-American culture, their importance
in genealogical studies, their place in African-American history,
and their associations with prominent African Americans.
The authors are both attorneys by profession with a deep interest
in African-American history and culture. In addition, Hughes is
general manager of the Detroit Memorial Park Association. Dr. Michael
L. Blakey, Director of the African Burial Ground Project, prepared
the Forward, and Wesstley W. Law, a Savannah civil rights and historic
preservation activist, contributed the Preface.
The volume's first section is the one that will be of greatest
interest to readers of A-A A. Entitled "Sites, Superstition,
and Stories," it is principally concerned with the history
of African-American burial, discussing archaeologically-investigated
cemeteries and Africanisms among burial customs.
The bulk of the book presents what might be called a travel-log
of African-American, and African-Canadian, cemeteries, most in
current use. The location, setting, and prominent occupants of
each is discussed. The final three sections address genealogy for
beginners, burial societies and lodges, and contemporary funeral and
burial customs, respectively. The genealogy section includes a
chapter on preserving historic cemeteries that offers a wealth
of practical advice on documenting and protecting cemetery sites.
This is a volume full of interesting, and sometimes surprising,
cultural and spiritual information.
Thurstan Shaw, Paul Sinclair, Bassy Andah, and Alex Okpoko,
editors, 1995 edition, The Archaeology of Africa: Food Metals,
and Towns. One World Archaeology Volume 20, Routledge, London and
New York. xxxvii + 857 pp. References, index, and site index (paper).
Africa has a rich and complex past, and this volume does much
to make that past better known to the western scholarly community.
An intricate interweaving of peoples and cultures is presented,
reflecting an extraordinary diversity of economic and social strategies
over an enormous range of environmental settings. This volume has
been called enormously important for the many misconceptions about
Africa's past that it demolishes.
A total of 45 essays comprise the volume, including an introduction
by the editors that identifies the thematic and geographic issues
that run through the collection. Readers of A-A A will find Manfred
Eggert's paper on the archaeology of Central Africa of particular
interest for its discussion of pottery from the inner Congo-Zaire
basin. He provides clear line drawings of archaeological examples.
Richard B. Sheridan, 1994, Sugar and Slavery: An Economic
History of the British West Indies, 1623-1775. Canoe Press, University
of the West Indies, Kingston. xx + 529 pp. Appendices, select bibliography,
and index. $27.00 (paper).
Sheridan presents a comprehensive overview of the socioeconomic
development of the British colonies of the Caribbean from their
settlement through the American Revolution. He focuses on the organization
and operation of sugar plantations and the role of the sugar economy
in the Atlantic World. While recognizing its inhumanity, Sheridan
notes the economic importance of sugarin Britian's economic and
maritime development. Further, he argues that the wealth created
by sugar fueled the industrial revolution.
Thomas D. Blakely, Walter E. A. Van Beek, and Dennis
L. Thomson, editors, 1994, Religion in Africa. The David M. Kennedy
Center, Brigham Young University in association with Heinemann,
Portsmouth, NH, and James Currey, London. xvi + 512 pp. Bibliography
and index. $24.95 (paper).
This is the first major collection on African religion in over
a decade. Its more than 20 contributors include distinguished researchers
in anthropology, archaeology, political science, comparative religion,
health and healing, languages, literature, and the visual and performing
arts. Following the editors' excellent introduction, contributing
essays are presented in three parts: I. Religion and Its Translatability,
II. Comparisons over Time and Space, and III. Instrumentality of
Religion. Many of the papers are of direct interest to the readers
of this newsletter including: Wande Abimbola's discussion of "Ifa"
a West African cosmological system and Pierre de Maret's "Archaeological
and Other Prehistoric Evidence of Traditional African Religious
Expression." Other articles explore such topics as the impact of
Christianity and Islam, women's power, the nature of "evil", and
the role of music in traditional religion.
Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest
Barbara Heath, Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest
Thomas Jefferson inherited nearly 5,000 acres of land in Bedford
county at the death of his father-in-law in 1773. He visited the
property, Poplar Forest, infrequently during the 18th century,
yet derived a significant portion of his income from its tobacco
and wheat fields. By the first decade of the 19th century, Poplar
Forest was home to more than 80 enslaved African Americans, and
one or more overseers and their families.
In 1806, masons began construction of a unique octagonal house
at the site. The house, completed in 1809, served Jefferson as
an "occasional retreat." During the second decade of
the 19th century, Jefferson's overseer and slaves laid-out and
planted an elaborate, geometric landscape set within a circular
road. Jefferson visited the property several times each year until
Archaeologists have been investigating Poplar Forest since
1989. Primary research questions focus on the layout and architecture
of the plantation and the social relationships of the plantation
The North Hill Site: Poplar Forest staff archaeologists, field
school students and volunteers have participated in excavations
at the site ofan 18th century slave quarter known as "the
North Hill." Located approximately 800 feet northeast of Jefferson's
1806 mansion house, the North Hill site is part of a larger concentration
of buildings that formed the original (pre-Jeffersonian) core of
the property known as "the old plantation."
A census of Poplar Forest slaves recorded in January of 1774
listed a single family composed of Guinea Will and Betty, and their
three small children Hal, Dilcey and Sukey, as well as a single
man, Billy Boy Smith. By the end of that year, an additional family
and two single adults were relocated to the property. A later census
dating to 1783 lists 35 men, women and children living as slaves
at Poplar Forest. During this period, Jefferson was an absentee
landowner, visiting once in 1774, and for most of the summer of 1781.
Archaeologists discovered the North Hill site in 1995 when
neighboring landowners reported finding artifacts in their vegetable
garden. The garden sits on the eastern half of a knoll which also
includes portions of the Poplar Forest property along its western
extent. Testing within the garden uncovered numerous domestic artifacts
dating from c. 1750-1820. Continued tilling in the garden had severely
disturbed the site; however the shallow remains of several features,
including what is believed to be a root cellar, were located, mapped
and excavated. Testing on the western half of the knoll revealed
a fairly even distribution of artifacts in plowzone. Large scale excavation
of the western portion of the site began in the summer of 1996.
Distribution maps of artifacts suggest three areas of concentrated
deposition. At two of these areas, features were also preserved.
Archaeologists recovered a high concentration of domestic material
dating to the late 18th and early 19th centuries adjacent to the
area tested in 1995. Blue glass beads, a faceted turquoise bead,
a small cast brass knife handle with a pistol grip, a cut Spanish
coin dating to 1738 were among the more interesting finds. No features
are associated with this concentration, but its proximity to the
features preserved within the neighboring garden suggest that
they may have originated from a structure or structures that once
The second concentration of artifacts was associated with a
five-foot square root cellar and a smaller pit lying 12 feet to
the north. The cellar contained a layer of burned architectural
material and carbonized botanical remains sealing a thin deposit
of soil with domestic refuse. A date of c. 1770-1780 has been assigned
to the fill, reflecting the presence of creamware with a Queen's
shape rim, but the absence of pearlware or later ceramics. A bone
handled folding knife was recovered from the floor of the cellar. Two
cut Spanish coins, dating to the first half of the 18th century,
and a pair of scissors were also found within the cellar's fill.
The smaller pit was irregular in shape and appears to have
been dug into the underlying bedrock. Its fill appears to be contemporaneous
with that of the cellar. No clear evidence of wall lines or chimney
placement has survived to indicate the size or orientation of the
structure(s) associated with these features. Quantities of hand
wrought nails and burned daub found within the fill of both features
and the overlying plowzone suggest a wooden building with a wood
and clay hearth.
The third concentration of artifacts is located approximately
40 feet southwest of the root cellar. This area of the site slopes
gently to the south and west, and has never been plowed. Three
trenches have been uncovered which appear to form the wall lines
of a small structure. An area of burned subsoil suggests that a
hearth was located along the north wall, while a gap in the trench
lines indicates a doorway located in the northeast corner of the
building. The western wall line has not yet been uncovered; however given
the evidence to date the structure appears to have measured approximately five
and one-half feet wide by 10 to 12 feet in length. It is surrounded by
a deposit of organic soil containing numerous domestic artifacts.
Creamware and lead glazed redwares predominate in the ceramic assemblage,
although fragments of colonoware, delft, Rhenish stoneware and
undecorated pearlware have also been recovered. Significantly,
no pearlware has yet been found in the occupation layer within
the structure, suggesting that it was destroyed sometime in the
late 1770s or early 1780s.
Excavations will continue at the site through the end of the
year. Artifact analysis is ongoing.
During 1997, excavations have been undertaken by students participating in
the Poplar Forest-University of Virginia Archaeological Field
School, participants in the one week program "Digging, Learning,
Teaching: Archaeology for Teachers at Poplar Forest," and
returning field school alumni. Research staff includes Barbara
Heath (Director of Archaeology), Michael Strutt (Field Supervisor),
Heather Olson (Laboratory Supervisor), and Justine Christianson,
Jodi Perin and Rob Thomson (externs).
Current Research at Monticello
Fraser Neiman and Leslie McFaden, Thomas Jefferson Memorial
In January 1997, the Monticello Department of Archaeology initiated
a systematic survey of the 2,000 acres currently owned by the Thomas
Jefferson Memorial Foundation. This tract comprises the core of
Thomas Jefferson's 5,000-acre plantation. Documents suggest that
the tract contains the four principal quarter farms (the Monticello
Home Farm Quarter, Tufton, Lego and Shadwell) that were the economic
backbone of Jefferson's plantation from 1769-1826. The 1997 archaeological
survey resulted in the identification of fifteen previously unknown
sites. The significant finds associated with Jefferson's operation
of Monticello Plantation include linear rock alignments that represent
agricultural field boundaries; road traces; a check dam and water
collection device; a cluster of rock piles that we hypothesize
represents clearance of individual garden plots by slaves; an overseer's
house; and five domestic sites where enslaved farm workers once
lived. The domestic sites are all associated with the Monticello
Home Farm Quarter and are adjacent to what Jefferson called "the
Antient Field," an area that documents hint may have been
under cultivation before Jefferson began active development of
Monticello in 1769. Two periods of settlement are represented
by the five slave sites. One (Site 7) dates to c. 1760-1790, three
date to c. 1790-1800, and a fifth was certainly occupied in the
1790s and may have been occupied earlier as well. Site locational
data suggest a major settlement pattern shift c. 1790, as sites
were moved off prime arable land and settlement became less clustered.
Both these changes are probably related to Jefferson's abandonment
of tobacco in favor of wheat cultivation. Tracing the causal linkages
to conflicting strategies pursued by Jefferson and his enslaved workers
is a major focus of future research.
The earliest of the slave sites was the focus of the 1997 Monticello/U.Va.
Summer Field School. Excavation of a spatially stratified random
sample of test units in the north half of the site and close study
of the horizontal artifact pattern revealed by them suggests that
a small portion of the site was occupied before c. 1770, as an
outlying quarter for Shadwell Plantation, Jefferson's birthplace.
The spatial extent of occupation greatly increased when the site
became the Home Farm Quarter in the 1770s and 1780s. Test squares
revealed several postholes, and the recovery of architectural
remains is high on the agenda for next summer's fieldwork at this
site. This is the first farm quarter site to have been investigated
archaeologically at Monticello.
The Plantation Survey is a multi-year project that allows us
for the first time to describe and understand the historical dynamics
of plantation spatial organization and land use. A second season
of survey fieldwork will run from January-April 1998, during which
the Department hopes to discover a third phase of home-farm slave
settlement dating to the first quarter of the 19th century. To
further enhance the historical value of these archaeological discoveries,
the Department is working closely with Monticello historians to
construct the Monticello Demographic Database, a uniquely comprehensive record
of the life histories of the nearly 600 enslaved individuals who worked
at Monticello during Jefferson's lifetime.
The Department of Archaeology is also completing a report on
the work conducted in 1995 and 1996 on the home of Elizabeth (Betty)
Hemings (c. 1735-1807) which is identified on a survey plat Jefferson
completed in 1809. Hemings, her children and grandchildren were
enslaved domestics and artisans at Monticello. The Hemings site
offers a rare opportunity to explore the archaeological traces
left by a single, enslaved individual whom we can identify. Despite
the ephemeral nature of material remains, chemical distributions, geoarchaeological
data, and site locational characteristics helped us to explore
the unique social niche Elizabeth Hemings occupied at Monticello at
the turn of the 19th century.
Preliminary Results: Excavations
at a Slave/Tenant Cabin at the Blythewood Plantation
David T. Palmer, Louisiana State University
Blythewood is a former sugar plantation located about 10 km
south of Plaquemine, LA. It was constructed sometime in the early
19th century and operated until at least the early part of this
century. African-American workers lived at Blythewood from at least
the mid 19th century to the middle of this century. There are four
standing slave/tenant cabins at Blythewood today. One of these
sits directly on the ground instead of being raised up on piers
like the others, and it is believed by a local architectural historian
(Sid Gray) to be older than the others. This cabin and its surrounding yard
were the focus of archaeological excavations during the summer
and fall of 1997.
A total of 11 one-meter square units were excavated inside
the cabin and in the yard. In addition, five judgementally placed
shovel tests were excavated in the yard and a grid of 20 shovel
tests systematically placed at five-meter intervals were excavated,
16 behind (west) of the cabin, and two each to the sides. Artifacts
recovered in the upper levels were a mixof recent 20th century
materials, mostly of a non-domestic nature, together with some
earlier 20th century artifacts indicating a change in use of the cabin
from a dwelling to a storage or work shed. The levels below had
early 20th century to late 19th century artifacts, while mid to
late 19th century artifacts were found in the lowest levels.
The artifacts recovered are similar to those recovered in 1996
by Dr. Chris Hays and Dr. Paul Farnsworth from surface collection
and test excavations at other cabins at Blythewood. Many of the
artifacts recovered in and around the cabin are of very recent
origin, most likely related to current mechanic and tinkering activities
at the site and use of the cabin for storage. The earlier artifacts
are those from a plantation worker's household: ceramics, patent
medicine bottles, toys, buttons, clay pipe fragments, utensils,
faunal remains, and other artifacts typical of a domestic occupation.
Glass was one of the largest artifact categories. Container
glass appears to be the best represented, with alcoholic beverage
containers among the most numerous, along with patent medicines
and canning jars. The glass artifacts seem to indicate a widespread
consumption or use of alcohol, although some of the assemblage
may reflect recent activities by non-occupants. Patent medicines
and other bottled beverages such as mineral water and sodas were also
consumed. Canning jars indicate that home preserving was taking
place, indicating that Blythewood's inhabitants were not totally
dependent on purchased foodstuffs.
Ceramics recovered were predominantly undecorated whitewares
and ironstonewares, with some industrial slip-decorated and transfer-printed
whitewares and ironstones, porcelain, yellowware, and a few fragments
of earlier ceramics such as creamware and pearlware. Preliminary
analysis suggests that there were no matched sets, and that most
of the ceramic assemblage could have been purchased on a limited
budget in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Many of the metal fragments are identifiable as can fragments
indicating the consumption of canned foods. Faunal remains were
also abundant at the site, with readily identifiable elements of
pig, cow, chicken or other fowl, gar, and eggshell present. The
large mammal remains had cut marks and saw marks, and elements
such as teeth, jaws, as well as long bones were found, suggesting
on-site butchering. A woman who lived at the site in the 1940s had
vivid memories of on-site slaughter and butchering. She described
how hogs and chicken raised on site would be put up in an elevated
pen and fedgrain to "clean them out" prior to slaughter,
which often took place in the yard near her cabin. This evidence
of on-site butchering is another example of the ways in which Blythewood's
inhabitants practice deconomic self-sufficiency.
Gardening also added to the self-sufficiency of Blythewood's
inhabitants. Although not visible in the archaeological record
of the site, oral history records its practice from the early 20th
century, if not earlier. The previously mentioned informant described
her grandmother's garden as having several types of beans, okra,
squash, field peas, and other produce. While patent medicines were
found archaeologically, so were traditional treatments. The informant
recalled her grandmother using salted meat and cobwebs to treat cuts
and puncture wounds. Her grandmother also created hair-care products by
combining purchased petroleum jelly with home-brewed ingredients
of specific leaves.
Architectural features revealed in the excavation, and the
patterning of artifacts in and immediately around the cabin indicate
that the cabin was originally stood on piers, like the others presently
at the site, which it resembles structurally. It was lowered sometime
in the late 19th or early 20th centuries, as oral history indicates
that it was already lowered prior to the 1940s. Some of the construction
details of the cabin, as well as the patterning of the artifacts,
indicate, however, that the cabin is original to its present location,
and was not moved from elsewhere.
Overall, the combination of archaeological and oral historical
evidence suggests that the material life of Blythewood's post-bellum
inhabitants was very modest and marked by attempts at self-sufficiency.
Toys such as porcelain dolls and marbles, as well as items such
as tobacco pipes and alcoholic beverage containers are evidence
of small luxuries that were obtainable. The large numbers of artifacts
recovered are, in-part, a product of the dramatic increase in the
number and availability of manufactured goods which became available
in the mid to late nineteenth century capitalist economy, and are
not indicative of wealth.
Acknowledgments: I would like to acknowledge the Robert C.
West Fund for financial support for my Master's thesis project.
Also I would liketo thank Mr. Denis Murel, the owner of Blythewood,
and Mr. Randy Walsh, the caretaker, for their cooperation, without
which this work would not be possible. My advisor Paul Farnsworth,
and my employer, Chris Hays, have helped me on this project in
many ways. I would also like to thank the many volunteers who worked
at the site.
Paul Farnsworth, Louisiana State University
The Seventeenth International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology
was held in Nassau, Bahamas from July 21-26, 1997. Among the papers
presented were a number of interest to readers of this newsletter:
"Seaman's Valley and Maroon Material Culture in Jamaica"
E. Kofi Agorsah, Black Studies Department, Portland State University
"Isolation and the Development of Bahamian Culture"
Paul Farnsworth, Dept. of Geography & Anthropology, Louisiana State
"African-Caribbean Technology: Forging Cultural Survivals
of the Atlantic World" Candice Goucher, Black Studies Department,
Portland State University
"Social Repercussions of Slavery as Evident in African-Curacaoan'Kunuku'
Houses" and "Archaeological Testing at Fort Oranje, Bonaire"
Jay B. Haviser, Archaeological-Anthropological Institute of the
"Evidence of African Continuities in the Material Culture
of Clifton Plantation, Bahamas" Laurie A. Wilkie, Department
of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
A volume containing all the conference papers will be published
for distribution at the next Congress in 1999. In the meantime,
contact the authors directly for further information about their
A number of recent journal articles have just been published
relating to African-American archaeology in the Caribbean. Because
of the international nature of Caribbean research, keeping track
of relevant publications can be difficult. Authors of publications
related to African-American archaeology in the Caribbean are encouraged
to send references for their recently published works to the regional
editor for inclusion. Those not published in Historical Archaeology
Handler, Jerome S. 1997 An African-Type Healer/Diviner and
His Grave Goods: A Burial from a Plantation Slave Cemetery in Barbados,
West Indies. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 1(2):91-130.
Watters, David R. 1997 Historical Documentation and Archaeological
Investigation of Codrington Castle, Babuda, West Indies. Annals
of Carnegie Museum 66(3):229-288.
Wilkie, Laurie A., and Paul Farnsworth. 1997 Results of the 1996 Excavations at Clifton Plantation. Journal of the Bahamas
Historical Society 19:2-18.
Student theses and dissertations are especially difficult to
keep track of. Students and/or their advisors are encouraged to
send information onrecently completed works to the regional editor.
The following Caribbean theses of interest have been filed this
Olson, Heather Lea 1997 Great Hope Plantation: Archaeological
Indications of Nineteenth Century Afro-Bahamian Life After Emancipation.
M.A. thesis, Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana
State University, Baton Rouge, LA.
Hughes, Geoffrey R. 1997 "A full perfect and faithful
return": An Anthropological Reanalysis of Bahamian Slave Registers.
B.A. senior thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of California,
Information on the 1784 Loyalist African-American settlement
at Birchtown, Nova Scotia, including discussion of Laird Niven's
archaeological work atthe site, can be found through the Nova
Scotia Museum's web page: http://www.ednet.ns.ca/educ/museum/arch/index.htm.
The Musée Dapper exhibition, "Magies" devoted
to African power objects is discussed in Culturekiosque, an internet
journal devotedto "La culture en mouvement": http://www.culturekiosque.com.Joseph
E. Romero is Editor-in-chief. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Internet Journal of Anthropological Studies, based at the
University of Montana seeks submissions from professional anthropologists
and students alike. The journal's homepage can be found at http://taylor.anthro.unt.edu/ijas/ijashome.htm.
Social historian Steven Mintz at the University of Houston
has developed a web site containing many useful resources. Of interest
to A-A A readersis his topically organized collection of slave
narratives from a variety of sources. Designed as a teaching tool
for undergraduate students, the site includes 46 narratives showing
the evolution of slavery over time:http://vi.uh.edu/pages/mintz/primary.htm
The African-American Mosaic is a Library of Congress Resources
Guideto the institution's African-American collection, including
all media. The on-line "exhibit" presents a sampler covering
four important areas: colonization, abolition, migrations, and
the WPA (including the ex-slave narratives): http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/african/intro.htm.
Afro-American Sources in Virginia. A Guide to Manuscripts and
Guide to African-American Documentary Resources in North Carolina
are both available in a searchable form at the University Press
of Virginia web site: http://www.upress.virginia.edu/epub/pyatt/index.htm.
The African American Heritage Preservation Foundation's web
page features information on the foundation, its mission, and its
projects. Featured projects include preservation of the Stanton
Family Cemetery in Virginia and the archaeological investigation
of the Stanton Family Home Site: http://www.preservenet.cornell.edu/aahpf/home-page.htm.
Christie's Genealogy Website is the gateway to a no less than
amazing array of primary sources pertaining to African-American
history and culture, including searchable primary census records
and records of the Freedmen's Bureau. These include records such
as the bureau's register of marriages from Arkansas and miscellaneous
labor contracts from Tennessee. http://ccharity.com.
(This site went into a heavy reconstruction sometime between 11/14
and 11/27 - worth checking back on.)
A Deeper Shade of History web site includes "This Week
in Black History" essay and database searchable by keyword
(topic) or by date.http://www.ai.nit.edu/~isbell/HFh/black/bhist.htm.
The Black Facts Online web site is very similar to Deeper Shade,
consisting of searchable topic, keyword, and date databases. http://www.blackfacts.com.
SHA 1998: African-American Archaeology
The annual Society for Historical Archaeology Conference on
Historical and Underwater Archaeology will be held in Atlanta January
The African-American Archaeology Workshop, organized again
this yearby Ywone Edwards-Ingram of Colonial Williamsburg, is
scheduled for Friday afternoon. It will explore multiple lines
of evidence to increase our understanding of the various ways enslaved
and free African Americans obtained, prepared, consumed, exchanged,
and discarded foods. The workshop will highlight resources and
findings and facilitate questions on "foodways." Specialists in
faunal, botanical, material culture, marketing, historical and
related studies will give brief introductions to the subject before
the generaldiscussion. Some focus will be on illness, well-being,
cultural interaction, tradition, culture change, resilience and
resistance. As always, participants are encouraged to bring artifacts
or other materials relevant to the topic.
According to the preliminary conference program, other paper
sessions of interest include: "Engendering African-Americans
Archaeology,"Thursday AM; "Transcending Boundaries,
Transforming the Discipline: African Diaspora Archaeology into
the New Millennium," Friday AM; "Prospectives on the
Evolution of African-American Culture, " Friday PM; and "The Archaeology
of the Middle Passage: Henretta Marie, " Saturday PM.
Also: Jerry Handler and Dan Mouer invite all archaeologists
working inthe Caribbean to join them for an informal "philosophical
session" on Friday night, right after the business meeting
and before the banquet. Look for fliers indicating where and when.
News and Announcements
Maybe you missed it: "Cellars and African-American Slave
Sites: New Data from an Upland South Plantation," by Amy L.
Young, was published in 1997 in the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology,
vol. 22, no. 1, pp.95-115. The article focuses on cellars excavated
at three slave house sites at the Locust Grove Plantation in Kentucky.
Amy addresses how the cellars were constructed, used, abandoned,
and filled to consider private property, the organization and use
of personal space, and subsistence strategies.
Also worth tracking down: "Medicinal Teas and Patent Medicines: African-American
Women's Consumer Choices and Ethnomedical Traditions at a Louisiana
Plantation" by Laurie A. Wilkie, 1996, Southeastern Archaeology 15(2):119-131,
looks at how commercially produced medicines may reflect traditional
ethnomedical practices at Oakley Plantation, West Feliciana, LA.
Publication of the papers presented at the African Impact on
the Material Culture of the Americas, interdisciplinary conference
(May 31-June 1, 1996) is reportedly moving forward. Stay tuned
for further details.
The National Association of African-American Studies will meet
February 10-14, 1998 in Houston, Texas. Presentation are expected
to address allaspect of the African-American experience including
literature, demographics, history, politics, economics, arts, religion,
etc. All accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings.
For more information contact:Lemuel Berry, Jr. Morehead State
University, (606) 783-2650.
David A. Poirier and Nicholas F. Bellantoni edited In Remembrance:
Archaeology and Death published in 1997 by Bergin & Garvey (Greenwood
Press), Westport, CT. 297 pp. $59.95 cloth (800) 225-5800. Four
of the essays are concerned with African-American cemetery sites:
the First African Baptist Church cemeteries, Philadelphia; Folly
Island, South Carolina; Catoctin Furnace, Maryland, and Cedar Grove,
Published this June: Encyclopedia of Precolonial Africa: Archaeology, History,
Languages, Culture, and Environments edited by Joseph O. Vogel, AltaMira
Press, Walnut Creek, CA. 600 pp. $124.95 cloth (805) 499-9774
This is an extensively illustrated benchmark volume containing
over 100 articles, each including a bibliography.
Postdoctoral/Visiting Scholar Fellowship in Ethnic Studies
at UCLA's Institute of American Cultures includes research on African
Americans. Awards range from $23-28,000/yr, plus benefits, and
up to $3,000 in research support. Prorated residencies of less
than a year are also possible. Consult their web page for more
The Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New
York Public Library announces its 1998-99 Scholars-in-Residence
Program. Half or full year Fellowships include a stipend of $15,000
or $30,000, respectively for professionals undertaking research
among the Center's collections. Projects must contribute to humanistic
knowledge of African, African-American, or African-Caribbean history
or culture. Degree candidates are not eligible. For more information
contact the Center at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, NewYork, NY 10037;
(212) 491-2203; http://www.nypl.org/research/sc/scm/specfea.html.Deadline
is January 12, 1998.
The Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program is open to graduate
student, pre-, post-, and senior postdoctoral candidates in American
social, cultural, science and technology, and decorate arts history.
Tenable in residence at the Smithsonian and its research facilities.
Contact the Office of Fellowships and Grants, 955 L'Enfant Plaza,
Suite 7000, Desk H, Washington, DC 20560; (202) 287-3271. Deadline
is January 15, 1998.
The National Park Service and the Organization of American
Historians are organizing a symposium to discuss Booker T. Washington
and W. E. B. DuBois, their historical context, and influences to
be held March 19-21,1998 in Roanoke, Virginia. Julian Bond will
be the keynote speaker on a program that will feature panel discussion
addressing cultural resource and interpretive issues. Contact The
Washington-DuBois Symposium, 112 NorthBryan Street, Bloomington,
IN 47408; (812) 855-7345.
Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis invites applications
for senior and post-doctoral fellowships from researchers working
on topics related to "The Black Atlantic: Race, Nation, and
Gender." Contact Professors Deborah Gray White and Mia Elisabeth
Bay, Project Directors, 88 College Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Deadline is December 15, 1997.
The International Center for Jefferson Studies, Charlottesville,
Virginia announces Residential Fellowships and travel grants for
all scholars working on Jefferson, or Jefferson-related, projects.
Fellowships are awarded for one-month's residency at the Center
and may include lodging. Travel for shorter visits to Monticello
for research or educational purposes are available on a limited
basis. Contact Douglas L. Wilson, Saunders Director, International Center
for Jefferson Studies, Monticello, Box 316, Charlottesville, VA
22902. Deadline in March 1, 1998.
Electronic version compiled by Thomas
R. Wheaton, New South Associates, Inc.
©2005 African Diaspora Archaeology Network
Please send comments or questions to: email@example.com
Last updated: April 16, 2005