Dividing Lines: Understanding the Social Spaces of Boundaries at James Madison’s Montpelier

Author(s): Myles Sullivan

Year: 2019

Summary

This is an abstract from the "Archaeologies of Enslavement" session, at the 2019 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

In the 18th and 19th century, landscape features like fencelines served both utilitarian and socially-charged functions in dividing up spaces on large plantations like James Madison’s Montpelier. In interpreting such boundaries, archaeologists are challenged to understand both the original intent of their construction by planters as well as how these features impacted the routines of enslaved individuals in the surrounding space. This paper presents fine-grained analysis using grit samples collected near a recently excavated fenceline by the South Yard, the domestic slave quarters adjacent to the Madisons’ mansion. Examining artifact distributions and grit-size ratios to other plantation spaces can help illustrate how these areas were maintained in daily life. The avenues that the enslaved community negotiated, ignored, or reimagined the plantation system can be better understood by looking at how these areas near boundaries were utilized.

Cite this Record

Dividing Lines: Understanding the Social Spaces of Boundaries at James Madison’s Montpelier. Myles Sullivan. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, St. Charles, MO. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449169)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 500