Use of Plants by Enslaved Laborers at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage Plantation

Author(s): Kandace Hollenbach; Jillian Galle

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

From 1804 until 1865, The Hermitage was home to Andrew Jackson, his descendants, and over 130 enslaved men, women, and children, often invisible in the historical record, who labored in the fields of Jackson's cotton plantation near Nashville, Tennessee. After emancipation, freed households continued to live in the former domestic quarters. For three decades archaeologists excavated hundreds of thousands of artifacts from twelve domestic sites scattered across three settlement clusters: the Mansion Backyard, the Field Quarter, and the First Hermitage. A collaboration between the University of Tennessee Department of Anthropology and The Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery, this paper presents the results of the plant analysis from over 35 contexts from the First Hermitage, the area of the property that was home to the Jackson family and a small group of enslaved laborers between 1804 and 1821. After 1821, the First Hermitage was populated entirely by Jackson's growing slave labor force. Remains of cotton seeds, corn cobs, and sweet potatoes, among other plant remains, provide insights into the ways that the enslaved used plants in their daily activities to supplement rations and to cope with the struggles of life on the plantation.

Cite this Record

Use of Plants by Enslaved Laborers at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage Plantation. Kandace Hollenbach, Jillian Galle. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450008)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.735; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -73.389; max lat: 39.572 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 26183