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Fishing and foraging strategies among enslaved children at Stewart Castle, Jamaica

Author(s): Jillian Galle

Year: 2014

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Identifying children’s activities in the archaeological record is a difficult task. Enslaved children are especially elusive; forced to labor at a young age, their access to toys and time to play were limited. While archaeological contexts of slavery do produce children’s toys, the quantities in which they are found are too small to meaningfully support arguments about children’s roles in any given society. Looking for the remains of children’s work, however, can provide critical insight into the extent that children contributed to household economic strategies. For enslaved children living on Caribbean islands, shell and beach fishing was work that contributed to their household’s food supply. Here I explore temporal trends in the discard of shell and fish varieties at the Stewart Castle village, located on the north coast of Jamaica. Preliminary analysis suggests that children’s fishing activities may have increased a household’s economic flexibility, allowing for participation in local markets.

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Fishing and foraging strategies among enslaved children at Stewart Castle, Jamaica. Jillian Galle. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436605)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-6,13

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