Plantation Life Beyond the Village: Examining Evidence for Residence in Provision Grounds

Author(s): James Delle

Year: 2016


The archaeology of the enslaved experience on Caribbean plantations has traditionally focused on life in the plantation village. These spaces, often crowded and providing little privacy, were but one place on the plantation landscape inhabited by enslaved workers. As has long been known, in the British West Indies under slavery, workers were required to grow their own food to supplement the mostly meager rations provided sporadically by plantation managers. The small farms tended by the laborers, known in the British West Indies as "provision grounds," were located in areas of estates thought to be of marginal use to the planters. Five seasons of archaeological investigations at Marshall’s Pen, an early 19th-century coffee plantation in Jamaica, have resulted in the identification, excavation, and analysis of five house platforms associated with provision grounds outside of a village context, as well as five house platforms within a more traditional plantation village. This paper will use this archaeological data to reconsider the meaning of plantation space by considering the landscape of the estate from the perspectives of the enslaved people who lived both within and beyond the plantation village

Cite this Record

Plantation Life Beyond the Village: Examining Evidence for Residence in Provision Grounds. James Delle. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403888)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;