The African Diaspora

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  • Documents (10)

  • The Archaeological Signature of Stews: Experimental Chopping of Long Bones and Small Fragment Sizes (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only adam heinrich.

    For decades, small bone fragments have been interpreted as the residues of stews. In international historical archaeology, stew interpretations have often been loaded with portrayals of groups who were enslaved, underclass, and others who had limited access to sufficient or preferable amounts of food. These groups have been depicted as having faced nutritional struggles where they resorted to extracting maximum nutrients from their resources. Others have been pictured making stews that can...

  • Back in Black Bottom:  The Changing Form of African American Burial Practices in a North Carolina Cemetery (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jonathan P Smith.

    The Black Bottom Memorial Cemetery is an African American community cemetery in Belhaven, North Carolina which was in use throughout the 20th century.  Mapping and surface survey of the cemetery revealed a large number of burials with significant, temporally linked, variation in burial practices.  Multiple factors including economic status and the effects of segregation and other discriminatory practices are suggested as contributing to this variation.  Comparison of the Black Bottom Memorial...

  • Commemoration and Contestation: New methodologies in archaeological heritage interpretation at the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite  (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Honora Sullivan-Chin.

    Today, the former homeplace of William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) Du Bois is a National Historic Landmark administered by the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which assumed stewardship of the property in 1987 after more than seventy years of relative abandonment. Nondescript and overgrown, the space appears to be little more than a vacant parking lot and accompanying sign alongside Route 23 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Indeed, ongoing efforts to commemorate Du Bois and to interpret the...

  • The Comparative Archaeology of Anglo-American Slavery Regimes: Reconsidering the Chesapeake from the Perspective of Bermuda (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Marley Brown III.

    Recent comparative scholarship by historians of Anglo-American slavery has emphasized the dynamic relationship between statute law and social practice, particularly as this relationship bears on such issues as economic agency, resistance to enslavement, and collective identity.  This paper revisits selected quarter sites excavated in Tidewater Virginia  in view of the material life of enslaved Bermudians during the eighteenth century.  Recent discoveries at a c. 1720-1860 domestic site in the...

  • The Distribution of Cowrie Shells in Colonial Virginia (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Barbara Heath.

    Cowrie shells (Cypraea moneta and Cypraea annulus) have been found in historic contexts associated with African enslavement on New World sites in the Caribbean, the American South, the Middle Atlantic, and the Northeast. Historical archaeologists have come to see these tiny shells as generally indicative of African presence and as specific evidence of spirituality at the sites where they are recovered. In this paper, I examine the role of cowrie shells in the global economies of the 17th, 18th,...

  • Excavation to Exhibition: Archaeology and a New Narrative for Plantation Museums (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Carol Poplin.

    From 1730 until 1865 Charleston, South Carolina was home to some of the richest people in the New World. Their fortunes were created from rice, indigo, and cotton grown with the labour of enslaved Africans who made up over 50 percent of the Lowcountry population. Planters showcased their wealth in elegant plantations and townhouses filled with European fashions and furniture. Today this historical landscape is represented at the region’s popular plantation and house museums. As reflections of...

  • Gainer Historical Cemetery: A Modern Reconnection to a "Lost" Cultural Landscape Not Actually Forgotten. (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Melissa Timo.

    The African American Gainer Historical Cemetery is located along the border of Washington and Bay Counties in Florida’s panhandle.  An African American community has utilized this liminal space since the arrival of settlers in 1825.  The cemetery contains evidence of the persistent use of old African-style customs, such as the utilization of traditional funerary material culture. Conflict and migration in the 19th and 20th centuries physically distanced the freedmen and their descendants from...

  • A School for Williamsburg's Enslaved: The Bray School Archaeological Project (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mark Kostro. Neil Norman.

    In 1760 the London-based philanthropy, the Associates of Dr. Bray, established a charity school for the religious education of free and enslaved African American children in Williamsburg, the eighteenth-century capitol of the Virginia colony.   Known as the Bray School, the school was briefly housed in a rented dwelling adjacent to the campus of the College of William and Mary.  The archaeological investigation of the suspected site of the Bray school in 2012 was a rare opportunity to materially...

  • Social Status and Inter-Household Interactions Amongst a 19th Enslaved Community (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Matthew C Greer.

    During the antebellum era, James Madison’s Montpelier was home to over one hundred enslaved African Americans.  Within this broad community, distinctions in social status could have been apparent amongst the enslaved households, potentially creating a system of social hierarchy.  At the same time, these households would have been connected to each other through a web of social interactions on a community wide basis.  Utilizing crossmended ceramic vessels from five recently excavated enslaved...

  • Worthy of a Thousand Words?: A Comparison of Images of Slavery in the US and Great Britain (2013)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Genevieve Goerling.

    In a previous paper I posited that imagery could be used as a resource for the archaeological study of slavery in Great Britain, since the smaller population of African slaves made it difficult to separate evidence of slavery from servitude. This paper will test the theories developed in the previous paper by comparing images from Great Britain with analogous samples from the US. Using traditional historical archaeological methods to study the people and places from which the US images were...