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Fieldwork and Footprints: Identifying Former Slave Villages on the Island of St. Eustatius

Author(s): Deanna Hamblin

Year: 2014

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The discovery of dry stone rock features in the northern hills on the Dutch island of St. Eustatius presented a unique opportunity to investigate four potential former slave villages. After emancipation, these villages were abandoned and have remained virtually undisturbed by eco-tourism. The intact nature of the sites held potential to add significantly to our understanding of slave village design, orientation, and construction on the island. Research for this project began in the summer of 2012 to assess slave village patterning and spatial orientation in comparison to other slave domestic environments in the Caribbean, the United States, and West Africa. Historical maps, regional comparisons, structural and spatial comparisons, and an examination of artifact distribution provided diagnostic characteristics to identify in the archaeological record; analysis revealed a lack of consistency among the dry stone rock features under investigation. This inconsistency led to the inability to confirm the existence of villages in the northern hills. This presentation summarizes the methodology, analysis, and conclusions of this Master’s research project in detail.

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Fieldwork and Footprints: Identifying Former Slave Villages on the Island of St. Eustatius. Deanna Hamblin. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436594)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-6,02

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