"I Swore I’d Never Step Foot in that House": Public Archaeology and the University as a Site of Former Enslavement
This is an abstract from the "The Public and Our Communities: How to Present Engaging Archaeology" session, at the 2019 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.
In Summer 2018, Clemson University began excavations at Fort Hill Plantation, the former home of statesman John C. Calhoun and university namesake Thomas Clemson, situated in the heart of the university campus. The expressed purposes of this excavation were to train students in field archaeology while locating the domestic slave quarters, help interpret the African-American experience on the Clemson landscape, and support the educational programming of the two house museums on campus.
This paper explores the challenge of excavating and interpreting a politically-charged site, in this case a place of former enslavement that serves as the centerpiece for a university that commissioned its excavation. It grapples with two opposing ideas: a responsibility to honor the African-American heritage of a site and region, and awareness that the very agency providing access to and funding for archaeological research perpetuates a system of structural inequalities that limit African-American university enrollment and employment.
Cite this Record
"I Swore I’d Never Step Foot in that House": Public Archaeology and the University as a Site of Former Enslavement. David M. Markus, Amber J Grafft-Weiss. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, St. Charles, MO. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449112)
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;
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Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology