‘Stretching the Soup with a Little Water’: Improvisation at the African American Community of Timbuctoo, New Jersey
Author(s): Christopher Barton
This paper delves into the work at the African American community of Timbuctoo, New Jersey. The community was founded circa 1825 and operated as a terminus along the underground railroad. From 2010-2011 a group of descendants, scholars, volunteers and Temple University archaeologists conducted Phase III excavations of the Davis site located within Timbuctoo. Once the home to William Davis (1836-1914) after its abandonment (circa 1930s) the 12x16 feet foundation was used as a community trash midden. The 15,000+ artifacts recovered from the Davis site date between 1870s-1940s and reflect a complicated narrative of life at Timbuctoo. Through contextualizing the documentary and archaeological records with the oral histories of the community this paper offers a multifaceted interpretation of individual practice at Timbuctoo. Specifically, this paper focuses on the confluence of epoch structures of race and class, and yet challenges this repressive narrative through a discourse of individual desire.
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‘Stretching the Soup with a Little Water’: Improvisation at the African American Community of Timbuctoo, New Jersey. Christopher Barton. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437304)
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