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Narratives Not Forgotten: New Directions in Plantation Archaeology

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2015

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  • Documents (13)


  • Another Place for Thinking: A Decade of Making Connections at Wye House (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT Mark P. Leone. Benjamin Skolnik.

    In a 2005 article in World Archaeology, Dan Hicks revisits the William Paca garden in Annapolis, calling it "a place for thinking", not only in the literal sense used by Leone but also in that scholars frequently revisit it as they work out disciplinary issues in the present.  As we think about "Peripheries and Boundaries", we cannot help but to think beyond them, to the connections that tie together the sites we excavate and to the people we find there both in the past and in the present.  In...

  • At the Crossroads of Consumption: 19th Century Slave Life in Western Tennessee (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT Kimberly Kasper. Katharine Reinhart. Ellie Maclin.

    In eight years of excavations on the 20,000 acre Ames land base in western Tennessee, a clearer picture of the 19th century of everyday life and the associated patterns of consumption of the antebellum south has emerged. With over twenty contiguous plantations, we are able to compare specific characteristics of the material culture from large (3,000+ acres) to small plantations (300 acres). Our current focus is on Fanny Dickins, a woman of financial means who established a small plantation after...

  • Cogs and Cane: The Evolution of Technology at a 19th Century Louisiana Sugar Mill (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT Matt McGraw.

    The mechanical din of the Industrial Revolution is not typically associated with 19th century Southern US plantation life.  However, the advances in science and technology resulting from the Industrial Revolution enabled the Louisiana sugar industry to flourish in spite of climatic restrictions.  Chatsworth Plantation (16EBR192) operated in East Baton Rouge Parish from the late 1830’s until the bankrupt plantation was sold at a Sheriff’s auction in 1928.  The Chatsworth Plantation sugar mill was...

  • The Evolution Of African American Settlement On A Georgia Plantation (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT Bradford Botwick.

    Investigations of an African American slave and freedpeople settlement near Savannah, Georgia revealed the sequence of its internal organization between its establishment as a plantation slave quarter in the 1820s and its abandonment at the end of the century.  Reconstruction of the quarter's layout suggested that at the time of its establishment, houses were arranged in an informal cluster according to principles the slaves established. Later in the antebellum period, the quarter took on a...

  • "Finery and Small Comforts": The intersection of gender, consumerism, and slavery in nineteenth century Virginia (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT Lori Lee.

    In the context of enslavement, supply constrained individual expression and consumer choice at varying scales. Within a plantation household, supply took the form of provisions selected by the master for enslaved laborers. At the scale of local markets and stores, supply and variable adherence to laws constrained which goods were available to slaves who were able to purchase or trade for them. In this paper, I synthesize historical and archaeological evidence to consider how supply and...

  • From Big House to Farm House: 100 Years at Arcadia Mill's Simpson Lot (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT Adrianne B Sams.

    The Simpson House at Arcadia Mill Archaeological Site in northwest Florida represents the high-status residence within a multi-ethnic antebellum community organized by hierarchy, race, and possibly gender. On a bluff overlooking the water-powered mill complex, the big house consisted of a three-story Louisiana-style mansion with a brick basement, veranda and main floor, and a second story. The Simpson House was constructed ca. 1835 and survived the Civil War including a short occupation by...

  • Guns on the Plantation: Situating the Use of Firearms by Enslaved Persons at Kingsley Plantation, Florida (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT Karen E McIlvoy.

    Kingsley Plantation, in Duval County, Florida, is located on a tranquil island that has seen many dynamic eras in its past.  Fort George Island’s largest slave owner was Zephaniah Kingsley, the slave trading Africaphile that owned the plantation in the early nineteenth century.  Recent excavations of the slave quarters at Kingsley Plantation have revealed the presence of firearms of various types in every domestic context investigated.  These weapons were of the most up-to-date technology...

  • Investigating Slave Life at an East Florida Sugar Plantation: Preliminary Results of the 2014 University of Florida Historical Archaeological Field School at Bulow Plantation, Flagler County, Florida (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT Brett C. Mogensen. James Davidson.

    From 1821 until its destruction by the Seminoles in 1836, Bulow Plantation (8FL7) in Flagler County, Florida represented one of the largest sugar producing operations in East Florida. Beyond being a site of production, the plantation was also home to roughly two hundred enslaved African-Americans during this period. In the 2014 field season, the University of Florida conducted excavations focusing on a single domestic slave cabin. Preliminary results of these excavations will be presented with...

  • Made in America? Sourcing the Coarse Earthenwares of Chesapeake Plantations (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT Lindsay Bloch.

    Unlike many other goods at the time, which were wholly imported from Great Britain or elsewhere abroad, utilitarian coarse earthenwares were also produced locally within the colonies. In the Chesapeake, it has been suggested that these local wares were reserved for those unable to trade directly with England. This paper presents the results of elemental analysis via laser ablation ICP-MS in order to identify the sources of utilitarian earthenwares used by plantation households. Employing a...

  • "The Once Great Plantation is Now a Wilderness" Investigations at the Josiah Henson SIte, Montgomery County, Maryland (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT cassandra michaud.

    In 2006, Montgomery Parks purchased a house and one acre of land in suburban Maryland, beginning historical and archaeological investigations into the site and its association with Josiah Henson, a Reverend, Underground Railroad conductor, and escaped slave. Known to local residents for its relationship to Harriett Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, the 19th century abolitionist novel, the site was the subject of much myth about the existing structures and their link to Henson, who was enslaved...

  • Peripheral Middling Plantations: The Late Antebellum Period at James Madison's Montpelier (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT Scott N. Oliver. Aryel Rigano. Marah Brenneman.

    The Arlington, Dr. Madison, and Bloomfield plantations were constructed in the early 19th century, surrounding James Madison's Montpelier in Orange County, Virginia. While these plantations are peripheral to the Madison property history, comparing these middling plantations is important to a holistic understanding of the late antebellum landscape in Virginia. Arlington House acts as an essential resource to the public archaeology initiatives of the institution by providing housing for the public...

  • "This gave me great influence over them": The Voice of Frederick Douglass at Wye House (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT Elizabeth Pruitt. Benjamin Skolnik.

    As historical archaeologists, we use historical documentation while also frequently claiming that our work "gives voice to the voiceless." For a decade, Archaeology in Annapolis has been excavating at Wye House on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in an attempt to highlight the lives of enslaved—later freed—Africans and African Americans on the plantation.  However, our work of "giving voice" runs into the issue that the most dominant voice from this site comes from Frederick Douglass, who shares his...

  • Tobacco Houses of the Early Colonial Chesapeake (2015)
    Citation DOCUMENT Mark Kostro.

    Tobacco houses and barns – specialized agricultural buildings for curing and storing tobacco -- were common features upon the Chesapeake region’s landscape throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  Each plantation or farm had at least one, and depending on its size, potentially more than one.  Today, colonial-era tobacco houses are all but extinct in the region, leaving the archaeological record as a principal source on these one-time ubiquitous structures.  Drawing upon excavation...

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America