Constructed Differences And An Archaeology of Material Practices in Antebellum Communities of Color

Author(s): Russ Handsman

Year: 2018

Summary

Slavery and the Atlantic economy created mixed Native/African communities in southeastern Massachusetts, a reality which widened after the Revolution. Historical archaeologists can deepen our understandings of the differences and interactions amongst such communities. As color lines became more rigid in such places, their inhabitants often made common cause. Yet the ancestral differences amongst them also lead to the emergence of groups of "coloured foreigners" on Indian reservations, mostly African-American men, whose lives, forestalled dreams, and material practices of distinction are recoverable through archaeology. Case studies from Mashpee, Aquinnah, and other Wampanoag communities are presented. Beyond reservations, there were also differences in the lives of multi-generational families of mixed ancestry including that of Captain Paul Cuffe Sr. (1759-1817), the celebrated black mariner and political activist. Models are developed for future archaeologies of the extended Cuffe family, research that can illuminate the lived realities of the color line in antebellum New England. 

Cite this Record

Constructed Differences And An Archaeology of Material Practices in Antebellum Communities of Color. Russ Handsman. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441757)

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): 201