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Cabins, Households, and Families: The Multiple Loci of Pooled Production at James Madison's Montpelier

Author(s): Eric Schweickart

Year: 2016

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The lives of the members of the enslaved community at James Madison’s plantation in Virginia, Montpelier, were shaped by the types of work they were expected to do in order to keep the president’s mansion and farm running smoothly. Recent work by historical demographers has highlighted the importance of pooling resources within households, with members each contributing the results of their production activities to the group.  Archaeological excavations at several different early 19th century domestic structures at Montpelier reveal the way the plantation inhabitants’ labors were differentially pooled across the property.  By comparing and contrasting the production-related artifacts found associated with different buildings, this paper investigates the multiple loci of shared tasks within the agriculturally-focused plantation and demonstrates how Madison and his overseers’ had to compromise their conceptions of discreet work spaces with the spaces of pooled production created by the social networks of the enslaved community.

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Cabins, Households, and Families: The Multiple Loci of Pooled Production at James Madison's Montpelier. Eric Schweickart. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434951) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8S75JXD


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 381

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
SHA_Schweickart_2016.pdf 379.01kb Aug 17, 2017 6:30:09 AM Public
Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America