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African-American Archaeology

Newsletter of the African-American Archaeology Network

Number 19, Early Winter 1997

John P. McCarthy, Editor


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 plantation.

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 store merchandise.

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 (HPLH).

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 needs.

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 1997).

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.

-References Cited-

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.

Heath, Barbara
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 Foundation Press.

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.

McKee, Larry
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).

Samford, Patricia
1996    The Archaeology of African-American Slavery and Material Culture. The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Series 53(1):87-114.

Sanford, Douglas
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 paperwork.

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.

Very Sincerely,

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 four containers.

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 Site

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.

Maryland Cemeteries

Summarized from page D-1 of the Washington Post, Oct. 16, 1997

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 last year.

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 perished.

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 trade.

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 (paper).

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 1823.

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 community.

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 stood there.

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 Foundation

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.

Caribbean Notes

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 University

"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 Netherlands Antilles

"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 papers.

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 include:

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 year:

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, Berkeley, CA.

Internet Resources

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:

The Musée Dapper exhibition, "Magies" devoted to African power objects is discussed in Culturekiosque, an internet journal devotedto "La culture en mouvement": E. Romero is Editor-in-chief. Contact him at

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

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:

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):

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:

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:

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. (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.

The Black Facts Online web site is very similar to Deeper Shade, consisting of searchable topic, keyword, and date databases.

SHA 1998: African-American Archaeology Workshop, Etc.

The annual Society for Historical Archaeology Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology will be held in Atlanta January 7-10, 1998.

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, Arkansas.

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 information:

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; 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.

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2005 African Diaspora Archaeology Network
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