Social Status and Inter-Household Interactions Amongst a 19th Enslaved Community

Author(s): Matthew C Greer

Year: 2013


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 households from the Stable Quarter and South Yard sites at Montpelier, this paper will utilize individual household vessel sets to establish social status and then trace the distribution of unique vessels from these sets between the households to demonstrate social interactions, as seen through gift giving.  This will analyze what effect the social status of these five enslaved households had on the social interactions with their fellow bondspeople.    

Cite this Record

Social Status and Inter-Household Interactions Amongst a 19th Enslaved Community. Matthew C Greer. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428658)

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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): 477