Newsletter of the African-American Archaeology Network
Number 20, Late Winter 1998John P. McCarthy,
Problematical Glass Artifacts
from Newton Plantation Slave Cemetery, Barbados
Jerome S. Handler, The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Charlottesville,
& The Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois
In the early 1970s, archaeological research in several plantations
addressed a variety of issues in the sociocultural life of early
Africans and their descendants in Barbados, once England's wealthiest
and most populous New World colony; this research ultimately focused
on the Newton plantation slave cemetery. Over the years, the Newton
research has been extensively reported, and is well known to scholars
of the early African Diaspora in the Caribbean . Although the
104 burials recovered from Newton represent a small percentage
of the total number interred at the cemetery, there was a diverse
artifactual inventory that included coffin hardware, clay pipes, pottery,
metal jewelry and knives, metal and bone buttons, and many different types
of glass beads. Some of these artifacts are unique to New World
African descendant sites (see Handler 1997).
This paper focuses on two virtually identical small glass objects
of apparent European manufacture. Each was found associated with
a different burial. Although the objects were excavated in May
1973 and published in 1978 (see Handler and Lange 1978: 119-122,
306 for more details on the objects and their burial contexts),
as far as I am currently aware no similar objects have been reported
from other African descendant sites.
Both objects are of translucent glass that, relative to modern
glass, is unusually heavy or hard; they are virtually identical
in size, shape, weight, and number of facets. Roughly conical in
shape, they have circular flat bases and faceted sides (Fig. 1).
The facets (six in the center, 12 on the outside) are irregularly
and crudely shaped. Under magnification (100x), they show no signs
of grinding or chipping, and air bubbles suggest they were pressed
or mold-made. The objects are very small (3.6 mm high and about
8.0 mm in diameter at the base) and light (one weighs 0.3368 grams, the
other 0.3813 grams).
Figure 1: Two identical glass objects were recovered from burial
contexts at Newton Plantation. (figure omitted from this online reprint)
The objects were associated with two different, albeit roughly
contemporaneous, coffinless burials located relatively close to
one another in the same 3-meters quare excavation unit (see Handler
and Lange 1978: 117-123). The burials were probably interred sometime
in the 18th century.
Burial 60 was an older female. When her leg bones were removed,
a 4.5 cm pipe stem section was found close to the right knee. One
of the glass objects was found next to this pipe stem (see Handler
and Lange 1978:119, fig. 13). The pipe stem fragment was clearly
not the pipe's original mouthpiece, and was not attached to a bowl
or additional stem fragments; that is, no whole pipe was associated
with Burial 60 -- as occurred in the other glass object described
below. Although the Burial 60 object appears to have been closely
associated with the pipe fragment, the fragment may have been
disturbed after interment; thus, the object's association with
the pipe stem may have been accidental. However, the other glass
object was more certainly associated with a pipe.
Burial 55 was an older male interred with two complete long-stemmed
white clay pipes, dating roughly 1710-1750 (based on bore-stem
diameter; median bowl date was 1705; a maker's mark suggested 1700-1740;
see Handler and Lange 1978: 123, 255, 270). One of the pipes was
found over the chest, the other by the pelvis; a glass object was
found lying, apex down, exactly at the mouthpiece end of the pipe
by the pelvis (Figs. 2 and 3; also, see Handler and Lange 1978:
120, fig. 14; 259, fig. 34). Both the pipe and glasso bject were
apparently undisturbed since the original interment.
Figure 2: Plan indicating location of the glass object associated
with Burial 55. (figure omitted)
Figure 3: In situ location of glass object, Burial 55. (figure omitted)
Although the objects were almost certainly manufactured in
Europe, their original function is uncertain. European-manufactured
glass beads were associated with both burials: Burial 60 had about
290 of various types around the neck, while 8 were found with Burial
55. But the glass objects were not beads; they were not perforated
and were not associated with other beads.
Ivor Noel Hume (personal comm., Oct. 1975) provisionally
suggested the objects may have "been from an item of paste
jewelry and would have originally been backed with metallic foil
or perhaps by colored paper. [They] could come from a finger ring
or possibly from a shoe buckle" -- perhaps dating from the
second half of the 18th century.
In January 1998, over twenty years later, several curators
in the Department of Metalwork at London's Victoria and Albert
Museum (Clare Phillips, pers. comm., Jan. 1998) gave the following
opinion after personally examining one of the objects: "The
object is clearly shaped to imitate a rosecut diamond. It is therefore
of a kind found in the jewelry -- perhaps a buckle or brooch -- of
the late 17th to late 18th century . . . . It is odd that no trace
of a mount has survived." The curators had "no means of
dating it more precisely," and "although England was
famous for making glass stones for jewelry, so too was Paris."
Since Barbados had such an intimate long-standing trade and colonial
relationship with England/Britain, it is assumed the objects are
of English/British, not French, origin.
How the enslaved at Newton originally obtained these objects
is unknown, and neither burial had associated rings, shoe buckles,
brooches, etc.; thus, the use of the objects was secondary. The
secondary use of European-manufactured items recovered from African
descendant sites is now well known in historical archaeology,
and some of these artifacts may have been modified by slaves and
used in their own cultural contexts, perhaps following West African patterns
(cf. Handler 1997:122 and references cited therein; Orser 1994; Wilkie
1997). Although the two objects were closely associated with clay pipes
(one case more certain than the other), there is no historical
or archaeological evidence from Barbados or elsewhere that the
objects had any functional relationship to pipes or pipe smoking.
It is therefore more likely that they were placed with the burials
because of their personal value to the decedents and/or had some
other role in slave mortuary beliefs. However, from the early 1970s
-- when the objects were excavated and originally analyzed -- to
the present, I cannot offer an explanation or suggestion for their
role in slave culture: the use or meaning of these objects among
Barbadian slaves remains problematical.
I bring these objects to the attention of this Newsletter's
readership in the hope that someday similar objects may be found
at other archaeological sites or contexts; perhaps with a wider
data base we will be able to resolve another small enigma in the
lives of early Africans and their descendantsin the Americas.
: A version of this paper was presented at
the 1998 SHA meeting in Atlanta. In the 1970s, Frederick Lange
played a crucial role in the archaeological research strategies
and data interpretation while Crawford Blakeman and Robert Riordan
actually excavated the objects discussed here; I rely on their
field notes for descriptive materials on the objects in situ. Jen
Ho Fang (X-Ray and Optics Laboratory, Southern Illinois University), using
a refractive index determination, initially identified the glass
composition and weighed the objects, and John Richardson (Office
of Scientific Photography, Southern Illinois University) provided
additional details through microscopic analysis. I am also grateful
to Clare Phillips, Richard Edgcumbe, Anthony North, and Tessa Murdoch
of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London for their assistance
in identification. One of the objects is in the Barbados Museum (with
other Newton artifacts); the other is in my possession, pending
further investigation, and subsequent delivery to the Museum.
: Principally, Handler and Lange 1978; more
recent publications, which cite many of the earlier ones in archaeology,
history, and bioanthropology, include Handler 1996, 1997.
Handler, Jerome S.
1996 A Prone Burial from a Plantation Slave Cemetery in Barbados,
West Indies: Possible Evidence for an African-Type Witch or other
Negatively Viewed Person. Historical Archaeology 30(3):
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.
Handler, Jerome S., and Frederick W. Lange
1978 Plantation Slavery in Barbados: An Archaeological and
Historical Investigation. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
Orser, Charles E., Jr.
1994 The Archaeology of African-American Slave Religion in
the Antebellum South. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 4:33-45.
Wilkie, Laurie A.
1997 Secret and Sacred: Contextualizing the Artifacts of African-American Magic
and Religion. Historical Archaeology 31(4):81-106.
From the Editor: WARNING, WARNING!
Be WARNED: If you have not paid your 1998 subscription, this
will be your last issue of the newsletter. The mailing label indicates
the last year paid according to my records. CHECK IT! Be sure to
contact me ASAP concerning any discrepancies.
Thanks for the words of encouragement and support so many of
you have offered in writing or in person. Keep the submissions
coming. Look for Issue 21 in May.
Comment on the Inappropriateness of
a Proposed Mean Ceramic Date (1780) for South Carolina Colonoware
Chris Espenshade, TRC Garrow Associates, Inc., Atlanta,
In a series of recent reports on plantation sites on the Wando
Neck area of coastal South Carolina, Wayne and Dickinson (1990,
1996a, 1996b, and 1996c) have presented Mean Ceramic Date (MCD)
calculations (after South 1972, 1977) that include a date of 1780
for Colonoware. This date is supported by a vague reference to
Anthony (1986) that Wayne and Dickinson contend places the production
span for South Carolina colonoware at 1730-1830. The midpoint of
which, 1780, is being used as the mean date for this ware in calculating
MCDs. Beyond possibly misrepresenting Anthony's comments, this approach
would appear to be fatally flawed at several levels. It is argued here
that there cannot be any meaningful mean date for Colonoware,
and that the use of Colonoware in arriving at MCDs is potentially
The concept of an MCD, as applied to European ceramics, is
based on the following premises (South 1977):
- 1. The wares were produced commercially as a for-profit, market-driven activity.
- 2. Being market-driven, the industry responded to changes in consumer demands.
- 3. Due to the general nature of consumer behavior, the frequency through time of specific wares/types generally followed a regular curve.
- 4. All producers of specific wares/types generally began and ended production of those wares/types at the same time.
- 5. Given 3 and 4, it is statistically valid to calculate an MCD that reflects the most likely date of production for a given ware/type.
An MCD approach should not be used for Colonoware because points
1-4 do not apply to this ware. The presence and frequency of Colonoware
on a specific slave row, for example, will be dependent on a number
of factors including presence of a potter, access to materials,
implicit permission of the planter to produce or use Colonoware,
availability of suitable substitutes, planter concern over slave
hygiene, degree of acculturation, and degree to which African lifeways
(subsistence, healing, religion) were followed. These factors did
not change through time on a single schedule shared by all African
Americans. Each individual community had its own production trajectory.
For example, recent excavations at three slave rows in Beaufort County,
South Carolina, shows Colonoware production continued after 1830 (and
possibly until the Civil War), on some slave rows (Eubanks et
al. 1994; Kennedy et al. 1994; Pietak et al. 1998). The mean date
for Colonoware and its use in calculating MCDs, as proposed and
applied by Wayne and Dickinson, should be abandoned as misleading
Anthony, Ronald W.
1986 Colonwares. In Home Upriver: Rural Life on Daniels
Island, Berkeley County, South Carolina, edited by M. A. Zierden,
L. M. Drucker, and J. Calhoun. Report prepared for the South Carolina
Department of Highways and Public Transportation. Carolina Archaeological
Services and the Charleston Museum, Charleston.
Eubanks, Elsie I., Christopher T. Espenshade, Marian Roberts,
and Linda Kennedy
Data Recovery Investigations of 38BU791, Bonny Shore Slave
Row, Spring Island, Beaufort County, South Carolina. Report
prepared for the Spring Island Company. Brockington and Associates,
1992 Uncommon Ground: Archaeology and Early African America,
1650-1800.Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington.
Kennedy, Linda, Marian D. Roberts, and Christopher T. Espenshade
1994 Archaeological Data Recovery at Colleton River Plantation
(38BU647), Beaufort County, South Carolina: A Study of an Early
Nineteenth Century Slave Settlement. Report prepared for Colleton
River Company, L. P. Brockington and Associates, Inc., Atlanta.
Pietak, Lynn, Christopher T. Espenshade, and Linda Kennedy
1998 Isolation and Slave Rows: Archaeological Data Recovery
at 38BU5, Spring Island, Beaufort County, South Carolina. Report
prepared for the Spring Island Company. TRC Garrow Associates,
1972 Evolution and Horizon as Revealed in Ceramic Analysis
in Historical Archaeology. The Conference on Historic Site Archaeology
1977 Method and Theory in Historical Archaeology. Academic
Press, New York.
Wayne, Lucy B., and Martin F. Dickinson
1990 Four Men's Ramble: Archaeology in the Wand Neck, Charleston
County, South Carolina. Report prepared for the Dunes West
Development Corporation. Southarc, Inc., Gainesville, Florida.
1996a Starvegut Hall Plantation, Charleston County, South
Carolina. Report prepared for the Dunes West Development Corporation.
Southarc, Inc., Gainesville, Florida.
1996b The Parsonage Tract, Charleston County, South Carolina. Report
prepared for the Dunes West Development Corporation. Southarc,
Inc., Gainesville, Florida.
1996c Ruins of an Old Settlement: Archaeological Data Recovery
at 38CH1082, Charleston County, South Carolina. Report prepared
for the Dunes West Development Corporation. Southarc, Inc., Gainesville,
To Witness the Past: African-American Archaeology
in Alexandria: An Exhibit
John P. McCarthy, Greenhorne and O'Mara, Inc., Greenbelt,
While the city of Alexandria, Virginia is well-known for its
program of public participation urban archaeology, the program's
long history of interest in African-American archaeology is less
known. The city's archaeology staff began exploration African American
life at residential sites in 1978, and over the last 20 years,
a total of 25 homes of free blacks, two slave residences, and three
manufacturing sites where most of the laborers were African American
have been investigated.
That Alexandria archaeology is largely African-American archaeology
should come as no surprise. Alexandria, like most southern cities,
had a considerable African-American population, both free and enslaved.
Freemen, in particular, were a significant part of the population:
by 1845, they numbered 1,627 and by 1860 half of the city's African-American
residents were free.
This exhibit reflects the wide range of material circumstances
within the African-American community. Some of the most striking
artifacts exhibited include a Chinese export porcelain lattice fruit basket and a willow-pattern transfer-printed
platter. These were among the materials recovered from the home
of a former slave named Harriet Williams. Williams lived on South
St. Asaph Street from 1849 until at least 1861. Other materials
recovered from a brick-lined shaft feature at the site included a
wine glass, an ink bottle, a clay tobacco pipe, a porcelain candlestick, and
the ornament from a brass bedpost.
Based on the apparent wealth this assemblage reflects it has
been speculated that Williams may have enjoyed a warm relationship
with her owner, Samuel Lindsey, who lived just three doors away.
Williams seems to have received costly hand-me-downs as fashions
In marked contrast, artifacts from the nearby home Moses and
Nancy Hanless, who were free blacks, were much more modest. Ceramics
from that site included a plain white tea cup and a white pitcher.
In addition to domestic materials, the exhibit also includes artifacts
from a sugar house, pottery, and glassworks.
The exhibit is presented in cases around the perimeter of the
city's usually busy public laboratory facility which is housed
in the Torpedo Factory Art Center on the Potomac River in Old Town.
Here most Saturdays and Sundays the city's dedicated volunteers
can be found hard at work processing and documenting collections
while they await warmer weather and fieldwork opportunities.
The exhibit, which is expected to run through at least March
31st, provides an excellent introduction to the goals and methods
of historical archaeology. Its focus on poorly documented African
Americans makes a strong case for the archaeology of minority and
Foodways: The African-American Archaeology
Workshop at the 1998 Society for Historical Archaeology Meeting,
John P. McCarthy, Greenhorne and O'Mara, Inc., Greenbelt,
Organized and chaired by Ywone Edwards-Ingram of Colonial Williamsburg, this
workshop featured summaries of current research by several speakers followed
by a lively and stimulating discussion.
Jo Anne Bowen noted the persistent and conservative nature
of foodways. As much as 40 percent of African-American assemblages
are wild, with lots of fish represented. Yet variability can be
seen reflecting specific choices such as small fish over large
Elizabeth Reitz discussed evidence for a "cultural filter" on
the natural environment. Humans are not random scavengers even
though we are omnivores. Many ethnic/cultural differences are manifest
in the context of food consumption/preparation behavior.
Michael Blakey discussed aspects of physical anthropology that
can reflect nutritional stress. Diet can also effect bone and dental
Steve Morozowski pled for more emphasis on environmental reconstruction, including
pollen and floral studies. Small differences in these indicators can
reflect major variability in the nature and quality of past environments.
Barbara Heath also mentioned the importance of the local environment, but
she focussed more on the consumer aspects of foodways: slaves
made use of many wild and grown foodstuffs as a source of cash
for use in the market economy. This money was only rarely used
for meat; it was more often used for whiskey, sugar, spices, and
Amy Young briefly summarized ongoing research at Saragossa Plantation. One of her students, Michael Tuma, has been involved in a study of cooperative hunting in a contemporary community at
the site. This male activity was contrasted to female gardens.
The discussion made clear that foodways are an important area
of research about which much remains to be learned.
Results of the 1997 Excavations at the
Brown Lodge/Caldwell Pottery Site (23SA451), Arrow Rock, MO
Timothy E. Baumann, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
An archaeological field school was jointly operated by the Missouri
Archaeological Society (MAS) and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville
(UTK) at the BrownLodge/Caldwell Pottery Site (23SA451) in Arrow
Rock, Missouri between July 14 and August 8, 1997. The field school
operated as a public archaeological project in cooperation with
the Friends of Arrow Rock and the Arrow Rock State Historic Site
and was partially funded by a grant from the Missouri Department
of Natural Resources.
Arrow Rock is a Missouri River town located in Saline County,
Missouri. Saline County is situated in west-central Missouri in
Missouri's "Little Dixie" region, named for its inhabitant's
southern heritage and Democratic views and the diverse agricultural
system which operated during the antebellum period with enslaved
African-Americans. After the Civil War, many of these enslaved
African-Americans fled their masters and moved into towns like Arrow
Rock to start their own segregated communities.
African-Americans settled the north side of Arrow Rock along
Morgan and north Second streets. The Brown Lodge/Caldwell Pottery
site is situated on Block #30, located on Morgan Street between
Sixth and Seventh streets. The history of Block #30 includes five
components: a stoneware pottery factory (1854-1870s), three African-American
residences (1882-1950s), an African-American Odd Fellows lodge
(1891-1900), an African-American Masonic lodge (1881-1931), and
an African-American restaurant and bar (1881-1950s).
The 1997 field school continued archaeological work started
in the 1996 MAS field school (Baumann 1997a, 1997b, 1997c, 1998;
Baumann and Krause 1997). The 1997 excavation goals were to evaluate
the archaeological resources on Block #30, assist in the restoration
of the Brown Lodge as an African-American heritage center, and
determine if Arrow Rock's listing on the National Register of Historic
Places should be amended to include its African-American heritage. The
1997 field school excavated 12 3 x 3 foot units and 89 posthole
tests, recording seven new cultural features and collecting 424
bags of artifacts.
Excavations and surface mapping recorded numerous features
associated with both the pottery factory and the African-American
occupation. Features associated with the pottery factory included
the remains of a circular, downdraft kiln and a brick foundation
interpreted as a pottery workshop. Features associated with the
African-American occupation included structural features linked
to both the Brown Lodge and a residence on lot 121. Limestone piers
and a midden were identified as the remains of a two story addition behind
the Brown Lodge. Limestone piers, a cement sidewalk, a cistern,
and two cellars were recorded and partially excavated of the lot
Artifacts collected from the 1997 excavations are currently
being processed and analyzed in the Historical Archaeology Laboratory
at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Deb Krause, a graduate
student in Art History and Archaeology at the University of Missouri-Columbia
is writing her master's thesis on the stoneware pottery component
of this site. Tim Baumann, a doctoral student in Anthropology at
the University of Tennessee, is writing his dissertationon Block
#30's African-American heritage. Initial interpretations of artifacts and
features associated with the African-American component are described below:
The ceramic assemblage collected during the 1997 field season
came from two general proveniences; the lot 121 house site and
the Brown Lodge. Ceramics around the lot 121 house were plentiful
including decorated whitewares, porcelain, ironstone, and salt-glazed,
slipped, and bristol-glazed stoneware. The most unique ceramic
pieces from the house site included a porcelain mustache cup, and
an ironstone plate with a monogram "B" standing for the
Bush family who occupied this site between 1903 and 1941. Identified makers'
marks all date after 1890. Most of the house site ceramics were collected
from a cistern and a root cellar behind the house.
Very few ceramics were collected from the Brown lodge. The
Brown Lodge is a two story frame structure with a Masonic hall
on the second floor and a restaurant and bar on the first. The
Masons were active on this site between 1881 and 1931. The restaurant
and bar was in operation into the 1950s. The few ceramic sherds
found around the lodge suggests that first floor establishment was
used more as a bar than a restaurant or that meals were not served
onor prepared in ceramic dishes.
Construction materials collected or observed from this site
included brick, shingles, plaster, vinyl flooring, and limestone
piers. In the 1880s, when African-Americans began to purchase their
own property and build homes in Arrow Rock, they had little money
to buy construction materials, consequently, many of the first
African-American houses were constructed of scrap or recycled materials.
These houses were generally constructed of wood frame, on a limestone pier
foundation, with a central brick chimney. The Brown Lodge, a communal structure
built in 1881, was likely constructed with better materials than most
houses. The Brown Lodge is constructed of a wood frame, cut nails, a
continuous limestone foundation, and a brick chimney.
Brick concentrations and limestone piers were visible around
both the standing Brown lodge and the lot 121 house site. The brick
and limestone concentration behind the lodge was identified as
a razed two story rearaddition that housed a kitchen on the first
floor and an external stairway and second story entrance to the
Masonic Hall. Some of the brick from the rear concentration had
heavy salt glazing suggesting that bricks were recycled from the
earlier pottery kiln that was found archaeologically adjacent
to the Brown Lodge.
Examples from the lot 121 house site varied greatly and included
soda, whiskey, wine, medicine, milk, and perfume bottles. Glass
containers collected from the Brown Lodge included mostly whiskey
bottles, shot glasses, and tumblers. Again, the high frequency
of alcohol related glass artifacts suggests that the lodge's first
floor was used more as a bar than as a restaurant.
Faunal remains from the Brown Lodge include both wild and domestic
species representing two activity sets: 1) human food consumption
and 2) non-human scavenging. Oral history of the Brown Lodge states
that pork, fish, rabbit, and chicken were served in the first floor
restaurant. The human food consumption is represented by carp,
the most common, followed by pig and cattle bones. The remaining
animal bones of opossum, rabbit, bird, and mole have heavy gnawing
and have been attributed to small carnivorous scavenging (i.e.
dog, cat, raccoon, opossum). While some of these bones may have
been scavenged subsequent to human consumption of the meat, no
cut marks were identified on these bones.
The best preserved floral remains came form the cellar fill
behind the lot 121 house site. A cursory analysis identified corncobs,
peach pits, and charred wood from cooking and heating.
Hinges, furniture tacks, tin cans, tools, wire, and indeterminate
rusted masses were collected from both the lot 121 house site and
the Brown Lodge. The most interesting metal objects include an
abundance of tin cans and paint can openers collected from the
cistern and cellar behind the lot 121 house. Oral history and census
data indicate that Franklin Bush, who lived on this property from
1903-1931, was a painter, plasterer, and wallpaper hanger. These
tin cans, some still containing paint, and painter's keys are likely
related to Mr. Bush's occupation.
A general list of objects found in this category include: buttons,
marbles, lead seals, glass beads, a chandelier crystal, pipe fragments,
Buttons collected from the rear lodge midden when were diverse
when compared to buttons from other areas excavated on Block #30.
These buttons were varied and represented coat, shirt, fraternal,
and military types manufactured from metal, cloth, wood, bone,
plastic, and porcelain material. A black plastic fraternal button
with a crescent moon and star is the only artifactdirectly associated
with the Masonic hall. A World War I general army service button
also was collected. This button may have belonged to WWI veteran Lewis
Hodges, who is buried in Arrow Rock's African-American cemetery.
This large button assemblage may be explained by patrons losing
buttons while removing their coats upon entering the establishment.
Recovery of a thimble also suggests the manufacture or repair of
clothing in the kitchen or on the back porch.
Lead seals embossed with "Boonville, MO" also were
collected around the Brown Lodge. These seals have been associated
with packages or deliveries made to the lodge from Boonville, Missouri.
At this time, weare unsure of these packages' contents.
The chandelier crystal and glass beads were found around the
lot 121 house site. Chandelier crystals and quartz crystals have
previously been found on African-American sites, particularly in
slave quarters. Similar chandelier crystals were recovered by Amy
Young from slave quarter root cellars on the Locust Grove plantation
in Kentucky (Young 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997). Young interpreted these
crystals along with perforated coins, beads, and "X"
marked artifacts (marble, spoon) as religious or ideologically significant
objects to African-Americans. These objects were often worn as
pendants for good luck charms or to ward off evil.
One blue and one yellow bead were also recovered from the lot
121 house site. Blue beads and the color blue have also been associated
with African-Americans, and, like crystals, were supposed to ward
off evil spirits (Stine et al. 1996). Often doorways and windows
were outlined in blue to keep spirits from entering the house.
Perhaps significantly, the standing Brown Lodge's front door and
windows are outlined in blue paint.
Investigations of Arrow Rock's African-American heritage at
the Brown Lodge/Caldwell Pottery Site reflects African-American
struggles for freedom and equal rights after slavery in Missouri.
This struggle is imbedded in the first property, houses, and personal
objects bought and used outside the context of slavery
Future plans include a MAS/UTK field school on Block #30 and
along north Second Street in May 1998. Excavations on Block #30
will concentrate on the Brown Lodge to better define its architectural
integrity for its eventual restoration. North Second Street contained
African-American structures of seven households, a church, a schoolhouse,
and a bar. Investigations at Second Street will include mapping
of surface features and posthole testing to expand our knowledge
of the entire African-American community and ultimately amend Arrow
Rock's National Register Listing to include its African-American heritage.
More information on this program is found on page 11 of this issue of
Baumann, Timothy E.
1997a The 1997 MAS Archaeological Field School at the Brown
Lodge/Caldwell Pottery Site. Missouri Archaeological Society
1997b The Brown Lodge/Caldwell Pottery Site, Arrow Rock, Missouri.
African-American Archaeology 18:3-4.
1997c The Brown Lodge/Caldwell Pottery Site (23SA451): A
Public Archaeological Project in Arrow Rock, Missouri. Paper
presented at the Plains Anthropological Conference, Boulder Colorado.
1998A Cornerstone of the Community: Excavations of an African-American Masonic
Lodge in Arrow Rock, Missouri. Paper presented at the Society for
Historical Archaeology, Atlanta, Georgia.
Baumann, Timothy E. and Deb Krause
1997 The 1996 Missouri Archaeological Field School: Excavations
at the Brown Lodge/Caldwell Pottery Site (23SA451) in Arrow Rock,
Missouri. Paper presented at the Missouri Archaeological Society
and Missouri Association for Professional Archaeologists, Columbia,
Stine, Linda, Melanie Cabak, and Mark Groover
1996 Blue Beads as African-American Cultural Symbols. Historical
Young, Amy L.
1994 Change and Continuity in African-Derived Religious
Practices on an Upland South Plantation. Paper presented at
the 1994 joint Southeastern Archaeological Conferences and Midwest
Archaeological Conference, Lexington, Kentucky.
1995 Risk and Material Conditions of African-American Slaves
at Locust Grove: An Archaeological Perspective. Ph.D. Dissertation,
Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
1996 Archaeological Evidence of African-Styled Ritual and Healing
Practices in the Upland South. Tennessee Anthropologist
1997 Risk Management Strategies Among African-American Slaves
at Locust Grove Plantation. International Journal of Historical
Internet for Africanists and Others Interested in Africa. (Roger
Pfister, 1996) is a useful and clearly written 140 page guide.
Available for $11.00 (US) from Basler Afrika Bibliographien, CH-4001,
Postfach 2037, Switzerland.
An African-American Cemetery in South Jersey is discussed at
The Scout Report for the Social Sciences presents information
on research materials, conferences, etc. of wide interest. http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/scout/report/socsci.
This site recently recognized the web version of A-AA! Issues from
Spring 1994 can be found on this site.
African-American and Quaker Pioneers
in East Central Indiana
Deborah L. Rotman, Archaeological Resources Management Service,
Ball State University
The agricultural history of east central Indiana is unique
in that many of the first pioneers were African-American farmers.
Many Quakers also migrated to this region, often bringing with
them recently manumitted or fugitive slaves as well as free persons
of color. Antebellum African-American and Quaker farm settlement
in Randolph have recently become the focus of archaeological and
historical investigations which are examining the dynamic relationship within
and between these cultural groups.
Indiana was admitted to the union as a free state in 1816 and
a significant migration of African-Americans and Quakers from southeastern
states soon followed. Settlement in this period in Randolph County
included the communities of Greenville, Cabin Creek, and Snow Hill.
African-American and Quaker settlers assisted fugitive slaves on
their way north and cooperated in the establishment of a school.
These communities seem to have largely disappeared in the 1860s, and
only the school building, the Union Literary Institute, is the
only extant structure associated with these communities.
To date, investigations of these communities have included
primary source research and a reconnaissance level survey of nearly
1,000 acres. Thirty-three historic sites were identified and 14
of these appeared to date before 1850. All of the early historic
sites were associated with African-American landowners.
Some of the assemblages recovered from these sites reflected
characteristics commonly associated with rural African-American
sites. The assemblages include only small numbers of artifacts
(e.g. N=20), and those recovered were of modest cost, including
aqua glass, undecorated whiteware, utilitarian stoneware, and architectural
elements, suggesting only brief occupation by poor tenants.
Other sites appeared to represent relatively wealthy individuals
and families. These assemblages consisted of greater quantities
of material (N=130) and diversity of artifacts of greater cost
including an array of transfer-printed and other decorated wares.
Brick scatters at two of the sites suggested that some homes were
more substantial than others were. The archaeological evidence
indicated that there was broad variation in the economic circumstances
of African-American farmers in these communities. Thus, these cooperatively
organized communities were also clearly economically stratified
to some extent.
The transformation of the agricultural system in east central
Indiana coincided with deteriorating race relations as the Civil
War drew nearer. The migration of black farmers out of the settlements
in Randolph County may have been motivated by decreased economic
opportunities in farming or marginalized social position as a result
of the changing political climate or perhaps both.
Through these investigations, the social, political, and economic
context of farm life during the early to mid-19th century in east
central Indiana was revealed. Three tentative conclusions were
reached during this firstphase of research: 1) the communities
operated with some degree of cooperation, 2) stratification existed
within and between these cultural groups, and 3) these agricultural
settlements were abandoned as a result of economic and political
Book Reviews and Notes
Elizabeth Isichei, 1997. A History of African Societies
to 1870. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York.
x + 578 pp. Maps, tables,notes, bibliography, and index. $69.95
(cloth), $24.95 (paper).
This is a well-balanced work that reflects the current status
of African historical studies. It is nuanced, and comprehensible,
yet not at all simplistic in either its organization or content.
Isichei presents what she calls "conversations" with
differing versions of the African past, with her own voice prominent among
many others (p. 3).
The work is Africa-centered, with little mention of European
explorers. The Boer history in South Africa, for example, gets
much less space than does the Khoisan. It is also an inclusive
history, discussing "stateless" peoples who have been
little studied by historians, as well as the Great States and Big
Men. In this effort, she draws heavily on ethnographic literature.
Her approach is fluid. Chronologically, the book is divided
into three periods: prior to 1000 CE, up to the 16th century, and
finally through ca. 1870, although these dates are never absolute
markers. Along the way Isichei draws forth half a dozen themes
to provide focus, while at the same time the continent is subdivided
into regions, although her definition of these regions is not consistent
Prominent among the themes is an emphasis on the way environment
has shaped social, political, economic, and religious institutions.
Drought and famine have been constants in African history and
remain so. Of considerable interest the treatment of the historic
interaction between gatherer-hunter, pastoral and agricultural
societies: the roles of craft producers, domestic slaves, and the
gender division of production are discussed in relation to political
and religious power structures.
Hans M. Zell and Cecile Lomer, 1997. The African Studies
Companion: A Resource Guide and Directory. 2nd revised and
expanded edition. Hans Zell Publishers, London. xi + 292 pp. Bibliography
and index. $85.00 (cloth).
This reference volume provides annotated listings of major
reference tools, including current bibliographies and continuing
sources; journals and magazines; major libraries; publishers with
African studies lists; dealers and distributors of African studies
materials; the major regional and international organizations.
Accordingly, it is an incredibly useful and important research tool.
The volume is arranged in 11 sections, carefully broken into
subsections according to geography and specialization. Section
I brings together a large number of key reference tools, primarily
in English, organized from a broad international perspective.
While at $85.00 the volume is perhaps an extravagance for an
individual researcher, it would make a useful addition to any institutional
Philip J. Schwarz, 1996. Slave Laws in Virginia. Studies
in the Legal History of the South. University of Georgia Press,
Athens. xvi + 253pp. Bibliography and index $40.00 (cloth).
Schwarz explores how the interactions between "African
Virginians and European Virginians" (p. xiv) shaped the political
and cultural landscape of the state and, in the process, helped
to shape that state's laws during the era of slavery. This is not
comprehensive survey of Virginia law during the slave regime, nor
is it meant to be. It is, instead, a series of essays exploring
how European Virginians set about the task of constructing a system
of laws that would legitimize their domination of enslaved Africans.
Central to Schwarz's argument is the belief that, "it
is useful to analyze the intersection or interaction of the behavior
of owners and of the enslaved" (p. 5). Law, in this sense
represents a codification of the day-to-day interactions of historical
Schwarz focuses particularly on the ways the enslaved influenced
lawmaking. He takes the position that Africans brought to America
were not mere objects to be acted upon, but arrived with their
own norms and values, and that their humanity constantly asserted
itself. African responses to captivity intruded upon, and helped
to shape, the expectations of those who enslaved them.
The interaction between masters and slaves gave rise to the
"customary" laws of slavery, the informal rules of masters/slaves
relations that also influenced relations among slaves. While these
rules existed in the private sphere, and were dependent upon specific
circumstances and the personalities of those involved, both master
and slave were still subject to the formal laws of Virginia.
In this public realm, legislators and judges were concerned
with protecting property and slavery as an institution. Even so,
the everyday exigencies of managing the slave population resulted
in laws conceived in response to European perceptions of, and reactions
to, enslaved Africans' behaviors. In effect, the slaves acted,
and the masters reacted.
The focus on agency among both free and enslaved is this volume's
strongest feature. There is much here that might be used to inform
archaeological analysis of enslaved African-American populations,
and not just those ofcolonial Virginia.
Wilma King, 1995. Stolen Childhood: Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America.
Indiana University Press, Bloomington, xxi + 253 pp. Illustrations, appendix,
notes, bibliography, and notes. $27.95 (cloth).
Here King discusses enslaved children and youth (males under
the age of twentyone and females under the age of eighteen) as
they lived in the family and community. These children engaged
in work and play, received temporal and spiritual education, experienced
the traumas of slavery, and sought and gained freedom.
Documentation is drawn from a wide range of primary sources
and the WPA slave narratives. It is worth noting that many of the
former slaves interviewed in the 1930s had experienced slavery
as children in the 1840s and 50s, providing direct access to childhood
King's essential argument is that slavery robbed African-American
children of a childhood. Yet, free children on farms labored under
the direction of patriarchal fathers, orphans and delinquents served
under indenture, and children in factories and small shops were
a source of cheap, unskilled labor, as the notion of a sheltered
and protected childhood was only just emerging among the middle class
in the early 19th century. In light of these issues, perhaps the
most innovative chapters in King's book are those dealing with
play, leisure, and education. Her analysis of play stresses its
relationship to reality as children observe and imitate procedures,
ideals, and values. Much of King's discussion resonates with the
small finds of domestic sites that are the material reflections
of children in the archaeological record.
News and Announcements
Call for Papers: National Identities is a new international/interdisciplinary journal
that seeks to address identity as one of the principal forces
that has shaped history. Contact the U.S. editor: David Hooson,
Geography Department, University of Calf., Berkeley, CA 9420 for
Kentucky African-Americans in the Civil War: A Defining Moment
in the Quest for Freedom was an exhibit at the 1997 state fair
sponsored by the Kentucky Heritage Council, the Kentucky African
American Heritage Commission, and the Kentucky Humanities Council.
The accompanying pamphlet includes archaeological and historical
essays by A-A A subscribers William H. Mulligan, Jr. and Kim A.
Caribbean Cultures Summer Program: Virginia Commonwealth University
will be conducting its 2-course (6 credits) Caribbean Cultures
Program this July 18-August 8. The team-taught program consists
of "Peoples and Cultures of the Caribbean" and "Caribbean
Perspectives on the African Diaspora". Principal instructors
are Dan Mouer and Bernard Moitt. The course includes lectures,
field trips, and cultural programs. Students will participate in
a number of activities related to Crop Over (the Bajan carnival-equivalent) and
Emancipation Day celebrations.
In addition, "Research Projects in Caribbean Archaeology
and Ethnography" is offered for 3 credits. This course is
designed for advanced undergraduate and post-grad students who
wish to participate in Dr. Mouer's research in Barbados, or who
would like his guidance in setting up individual or group projects
dealing with culture history or popular culture in Barbados.
Fees for the 6-credit Caribbean Cultures program will be $2990,
and $2445 for the 3-credit research course, inclusive of airfare
(round-trip from Washington, DC), tuition, room, and all program
costs. They do not include the cost of meals or out-of-pocket incidental
expenses. Tuition fees are the same for in-state, out-of-state,
graduate or postgraduate students. Arrangements can be made for
transfer credit. For more information contact Dan Mouer at firstname.lastname@example.org
June 10, 1998.
Field School at Arrow Rock, Missouri: The Missouri Archaeological
Society (MAS) and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) will
hold a fieldschool May 20 to 31, 1998. See Tim Baumann's article
in this issue of A-AA for more information about this 19th-century
African American settlement. Students can enroll for a non-credit
one-week session through the MAS or for a two-week session for
3 credits through UTK. Contact Melody Galen of the MAS at (573)
882-3544 or by e-mail: email@example.com, or
contact Tim Baumann at (423) 974-4408 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,
or you can visit our webpage: http://funnelweb.utcc.utk.edu/
The Southeastern Archaeological Conference 1998 will be held
November 11-14 in Greenville, South Carolina, at the Hyatt-Regency.
Contact Ken Sassaman, conference coordinator at 803-725-1130 for
Worth Tracking Down (articles by subscribers and friends):
Baker, T. Lindsay
1996 More than Just "Possum" n Taters: Texas-African
Foodways in the WPA Slave Narratives. In Juneteenth Texas: Essays
in African-American Folklore, edited by Francis E. Abernethy,
Carolyn F. Satterwhite, Patrick B. Mullen, and Alan B. Govenar,
pp. 95-128. University of North Texas Press, Denton. Published in
October 1997 despite the 1996 date.
Groover, Mark D., and Timothy E. Baumann
1996 "They Worked Their Own Remedy": African-American
Herbal Medicine and the Archaeological Record. South Carolina
Baker, T. Lindsay, and Julie P. Baker, editors
1998 The WPA Oklahoma Slave Narratives, University of
Oklahoma Press, Norman. March, $24.95 paper.
1998 Till Freedom Cried Out: Memories of Texas Slave Life.
Texas A&M University Press, College Station. February, $29.95
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