Revisiting Parting Ways Forty Years Later: Some Research Challenges and Successes

Author(s): Karen A Hutchins

Year: 2015


Nearly 30,000 18th- and 19th-century artifacts were recovered during the excavation of the small African American community of Parting Ways in Plymouth, Massachusetts by James Deetz beginning in 1975. The artifacts are currently housed at the Massachusetts Historical Commission in Boston. Original interpretations attributed all the artifacts to the late 18th- and 19th-century African American occupation of the site, but subsequent research indicated that Parting Ways was occupied in the middle of the 18th century by several Anglo-American families. To make meaningful conclusions about the African American inhabitants of the site it was first imperative to properly attribute the 18th-century artifacts. Although no field notes remain with the collection and much of the site was not excavated stratigraphically, the detailed artifact bag log, well-labeled artifacts, site maps, new excavations conducted in 1989, and database software, allowed for the reconstruction of the excavations and the attribution of most artifacts.

Cite this Record

Revisiting Parting Ways Forty Years Later: Some Research Challenges and Successes. Karen A Hutchins. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433911)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 164