Inclusive Collaboration: A Model for Archaeologists Working with Descendant Communities

Author(s): Elizabeth D. Meade; Rachel Watkins

Year: 2022


This is an abstract from the session entitled "African American Voices In The Mid-Atlantic: Archaeology Of Elusive Freedom, Enslavement, And Rebellion" , at the 2022 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

The tensions resulting from American archaeology’s post-colonial roots are exposed in unique ways during the archaeological investigation of burial places associated with enslavement. In the aftermath of the investigation of Manhattan’s African Burial Ground, advisory groups representing descendant communities now have greater power and a more clearly defined role in archaeological investigations in NYC. The members of advisory groups can represent diverse backgrounds and interests that may differ from project sponsors and/or archaeologists and may be affected by the trauma resulting from the historical practices of archaeologists. As such, building trust between archaeologists and advisory groups is a critical step in ensuring an effective collaboration. Inspired by the archaeological investigation of cemetery for enslaved persons in Manhattan, this paper outlines a proposed work model for such investigations, including best practices for the operationalization of interpretation, research, and public engagement to facilitate meaningful collaboration between archaeologists, project sponsors, and descendant communities.

Cite this Record

Inclusive Collaboration: A Model for Archaeologists Working with Descendant Communities. Elizabeth D. Meade, Rachel Watkins. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Philadelphia, PA. 2022 ( tDAR id: 469314)


Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology