Excavation to Exhibition: Archaeology and a New Narrative for Plantation Museums

Author(s): Carol Poplin

Year: 2013


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 colonial and antebellum life, we expect to learn about enslaved people at these facilities. Instead, the enslaved experience is often marginalized, trivialized, or ignored. Can archaeologists help change the old plantation narratives? Does this lack of representation make it imperative that archaeologists studying African Diaspora sites share their work? This paper explores archaeological investigations at Dean Hall Plantation slave row and the private/public partnership that translated the work into a dynamic public exhibition.

Cite this Record

Excavation to Exhibition: Archaeology and a New Narrative for Plantation Museums. Carol Poplin. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428656)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 448