Moving beyond Cowboys and Indians: Rethinking Colonial Dichotomies into Messy "Frontiers"

Author(s): Andrew Agha; Jon Marcoux

Year: 2017


As part of its etymological "baggage," the term "frontier" evokes thoughts of action and excitement, conquering the unknown, and transforming the untamed and uncivilized into the managed and controlled. In North American colonial contexts this perspective privileges the experiences of European, colonizers at the interpretive expense of the multitude of other social actors (e.g., enslaved Africans, women, Native Americans) whose practices equally constituted the colonial project. In our paper, we examine the Lord Ashley site, a late 17th c. settlement near Charles Towne, South Carolina.  While this settlement can certainly be called a frontier, it was also a diverse diasporic community performed in the daily lives of European managers and indentured servants, enslaved Africans, and Native Americans. In exploring this perspective, we attempt to rethink the simple dichotomous relationships (e.g., frontier/civilized, colonizer/colonized, global/local) and preconceived notions that typically define what this sort of archaeological site is "supposed" to look like.

Cite this Record

Moving beyond Cowboys and Indians: Rethinking Colonial Dichotomies into Messy "Frontiers". Andrew Agha, Jon Marcoux. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435129)


Temporal Keywords
early colonial

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): 589