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Decoding the Midden: How DAACS Helped Reveal the Secrets of the Most Complicated Context at Fairfield Plantation, Gloucester County, Virginia

Author(s): David A. Brown ; Thane H. Harpole ; Colleen Betti ; Anna Hayden

Year: 2015

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Summary

Fairfield Plantation's midden spans an historically complex period in Virginia's history (mid-18th-to-mid-19th century). This refuse deposit includes materials representating a cross section of the plantation's population, particularly those living in and near the 1694 manor house.  Although plowing in the late 19th and 20th century impacted the interpretive potential of the midden, all was not lost. DAACS cataloging of artifacts recovered from 138 five-foot-square test units within and bordering the midden revealed significant value was added to this assemblage through the standardized, highly detailed recording of descriptive attributes.  In particular, analysis revealed distinct areas of periodic use that coincided with and revealed greater cultural complexities in the larger designed landscape.  Analysis also identified disposal patterns connected with an earlier slave quarter's swept yard, shifting material consumption trends among both white property owners and enslaved Africans, and the eventual abandonment of the work yard as the plantation transitioned into tenancy. 


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Cite this Record

Decoding the Midden: How DAACS Helped Reveal the Secrets of the Most Complicated Context at Fairfield Plantation, Gloucester County, Virginia. David A. Brown, Thane H. Harpole, Colleen Betti, Anna Hayden. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433728)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 382

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