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The Slave Water Well at Kingsley Plantation: The Unexpected Possibilities of an African Religiosity within a Secular Context

Author(s): James Davidson

Year: 2014

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Summary

At Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island, Florida, eight years of summer archaeological field schools have revealed new knowledge regarding African lifeways in this early 19th century New World context, through excavations within four slave cabins and the discovery of the long lost Kingsley era African Burial Ground. In 2010 and 2011 we also uncovered a previously unknown slave water-well. While digging the well we expected to find amazing artifacts like whole ceramic vessels, bottles, or well preserved organics. So what did we find? Nothing bigger than a thumbnail, save for a single object at its base ‘-- a smooth, water-polished cobble. The island is composed entirely of sand with a clay base, with no naturally-occurring stone. So how did this stone come be located at the bottom of the well, and what could it possibly mean? Interpretations of this unexpected discovery involve possible correlations with West African religious beliefs and their continuity in Spanish Florida.


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The Slave Water Well at Kingsley Plantation: The Unexpected Possibilities of an African Religiosity within a Secular Context. James Davidson. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436885)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-35,06

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