Forged by Many Hands: Analyzing Transformations of Space in the Antebellum Industrial South

Author(s): Erin Schwartz; Nick Belluzzo

Year: 2019


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

Often overshadowed by agriculture-based slavery, industrial slavery shaped the physical, economic, and cultural landscape of the antebellum South on multiple scales. Mills, factories, mines, industrial plantations, and other operations exploited natural resources and enslaved labor on large scales, as enslaved industrial workers and communities attempted to use their limited degrees of autonomy and resources to create their own space. The Buffalo Forge iron plantation in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia offers a unique opportunity to investigate enslaved workers' alterations of space. While Buffalo Forge's ironmasters oversaw its large workforce across discrete, yet interconnected spaces, spaces around enslaved quarters in particular could be used to participate in diverse individual and communal activities invisible to ironmasters. This project focuses on the area surrounding two standing women's quarters, tacking between geospatial, archaeological, and architectural data. While initial archaeological work focused on the front yards of both quarters, geospatial data generated from drone-acquired aerial imagery identified previously-invisible features and areas of visibility, prompting alterations in sampling strategy. Subsequent archaeological work has illuminated enslaved spaces as shifting over time and space. In providing both a novel method and new interpretations of industrial spaces, this project promises to advance scholars' understanding of our industrial past.

Cite this Record

Forged by Many Hands: Analyzing Transformations of Space in the Antebellum Industrial South. Erin Schwartz, Nick Belluzzo. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450281)

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): 26201