Siege Lines: Layered Landscapes and Difficult Histories on Yorktown Battlefield

Author(s): Chandler E Fitzsimons

Year: 2020


This is an abstract from the session entitled "Northeast Region National Park Service Archeological Landscapes and the Stories They Tell" , at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Slabtown, Virginia (also known as Uniontown) was an African-American settlement established in 1863 on the site of Yorktown’s Revolutionary War battlefield by formerly-enslaved individuals who achieved freedom by crossing Union lines (so-called “contraband”). Slabtown/Uniontown remained an active and vibrant settlement until the expansion of Colonial National Historical Park in the 1970s led to a series of land acquisitions by the National Park Service that forced residents out in the name of the preservation of the Revolutionary War landscape. The settlement was razed; today, the material traces of Slabtown remain on the landscape, hidden in a grove of trees just beyond the Revolutionary War earthworks. The descendant community, though displaced, remains active and present in the area. In Slabtown, the charged relationship between forgetting and remembering is inscribed on the landscape, asking how we bring to light, reckon with, and interpret these difficult histories today.

Cite this Record

Siege Lines: Layered Landscapes and Difficult Histories on Yorktown Battlefield. Chandler E Fitzsimons. 2020 ( tDAR id: 457165)


Temporal Keywords

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): 272