Colonial Consequences: Results from the Archaeological Survey of Colonial Dominica

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Brought into the foreground of anthropological concern through the works of Sidney Mintz, Eric Wolf, and others, the plantation is a spatial and economic category that is at once familiar and strange to archaeologies of environment, social complexity and power. Through a concentrated examination of one landscape, Soufriere, a settlement enclave on the island of Dominica, and its evolution between the 17th and 19th centuries, this panel revisits and destabilizes the plantation as a socio-ecological form and explores the unique and dynamic configurations of identity, power, and social relations that such a space engenders. In its material and aspirational emergence, the plantation landscape left behind a material record that enables participants to interrogate three questions. What makes a plantation a plantation? How are social and economic inequalities built into its landscape? How does the material record of enslaved workers speak about, with, or against the plantation as a concept and socio-ecological form? This panel builds on archaeological studies that looking at the evolution of colonial society, demonstrated how domestic economies are essential to understanding the political economy of island colonies, and how ordinary people were linked through regional and inter-regional interactions in ways not expected by colonial elites.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-8 of 8)

  • Documents (8)

  • Archaeological Survey of Colonial Dominica (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mark Hauser.

    The Archaeological Survey of Colonial Dominica centered household production, provisioning, and consumption in the relationship between colonies and metropoles. This paper introduces this session, which develops an approach that considers the political economy of colonial empires at the human scale. As a site of imperial contention between Britain and France, Dominica’s material record can help examine the similarities and differences in how land, labor and commerce was imagined in the homeland...

  • Chronological Evidence of Material and Landscape Changes Associated with a Shift in Colonial Control at the Morne Patate Plantation, Dominica (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alan Armstrong.

    Morne Patate Plantation in southern Dominica (occupied between the 1740s and 1950s) provides us with an opportunity to examine a setting that underwent major changes in social organization and economic engagements associated with the shift in colonial control of the island from the French to the British in 1763. This paper presents an overview of the chronology of the archaeological contexts at the site and changes in settlement organization. This material record provides evidence for discrete...

  • The Colony of a Colony? The Establishment of Plantations in Dominica, c. 1730-1763 (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Tessa Murphy.

    This paper draws on archival documents held in Dominica, France, and Martinique in order to trace the establishment of a plantation economy that was integral to—yet technically outside the sphere of—French colonial rule in the early modern Americas. Prior to the end of the Seven Years’ War in 1763, European settlement in Dominica was formally prohibited by a series of treaties. Yet surviving notary and Catholic parish records reveal that in the middle decades of the eighteenth century, a number...

  • "Jouer sur du velours": Archaeological Evidence of Gaming on Sites of Slavery in the Caribbean and United States (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jillian Galle. Lynsey Bates.

    Hand-carved ceramic discs excavated from historic-period sites across North America and the Caribbean suggest the widespread growth of gaming culture during the third quarter of the 18th century. From Spanish missions and French forts to villages of enslaved people across the British, French, and Spanish colonial domains, people fashioned discs from flat portions of ceramic vessels for use in a variety of games. We begin by exploring the production and use of hand-carved ceramic gaming discs of...

  • Plantation Environments and Economics: Household Food Practices at Morne Patate (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Oas.

    The dynamics of household economies provide an important window into processes of social, economic, and environmental change in plantation settings. This paper examines household food production and consumption activities and the use of local landscapes at Morne Patate to better understand the relationships between daily life, landscape use, and the broader political economic changes that influenced plantation life on Dominica over several generations of occupation. I present the results of...

  • Subsistence Economies at Morne Patate: A Zooarchaeological Analysis of a Colonial Plantation Landscape in Dominica (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Diane Wallman.

    From the 17th through 20th centuries, the Caribbean region experienced unprecedented demographic and environmental change, with the rise and fall of sugar monoculture and the institution of chattel slavery. These transformations were a result of power imbalances at many scales, and the economic, ecological and social consequences of the migrations and interactions were significant and long-lasting. During the Colonial Period, enslaved communities developed diverse socio-ecological practices to...

  • Tracing the Post-Emancipation Landscape of Dominica’s Lime Industry (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Samantha Ellens.

    In a time when global travel was fairly restricted, citrus lime consumption extended across the Atlantic, regularly appearing in British advertisements and utilized in the global perfume and beverage markets. Following abolition, in 1834, limes and lime by-products became the chief export of islands like Montserrat and Dominica. In the case of Dominica, lime production gradually developed, and by 1875, many lime estates were yielding exceptional profits. The L. Rose and Lime Company was one of...

  • A Yard and It’s Belongin’s: Archaeological Research of Laborer Houseyards on the Morne Patat Estate, Dominica (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Khadene Harris.

    Caribbean ‘yards’ and their associated structures have long been of interest to archaeologists determined to understand how the domestic spaces of enslaved laborers both embodied and reflected kinship ties, labor arrangements, and socio-political shifts. Often regarded as an elemental feature of Caribbean society, houseyards are the spaces where the repeated acts of daily life took place, as a result, understanding how enslaved laborers utilized and altered their domestic space over generations,...