Fitting Overseers Into The Plantation Picture: Spatial Analysis At The Oval Site

Author(s): Douglas W. Sanford; Andrew P. Wilkins

Year: 2015


Studies of plantation landscapes often focus either on the siting of mansions, quarters, and other structures across the plantation at a large scale by the owner, or attempts by the enslaved to exert control over the small-scale spaces of their own houses and yards.  This paper adds to the consideration of how examining and comparing small-scale landscapes can contribute to a discussion of the creation and negotiation of intermingled racial and class-based boundaries within plantation contexts.  Through a fine-grained spatial analysis of features, artifacts, and soil chemistry distributions, we reconstruct the micro-landscape of the Oval Site, a mid-eighteenth-century overseer's complex at Stratford Hall Plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia.  Through historical context and comparison with similar sites, our interpretation of the Oval Site leads to a greater than expected degree of socio-economic variation and mobility within the often narrowly conceived role of an overseer.

Cite this Record

Fitting Overseers Into The Plantation Picture: Spatial Analysis At The Oval Site. Douglas W. Sanford, Andrew P. Wilkins. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433708)


Temporal Keywords
18th Century

Spatial Coverage

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

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 301