Anthropology 2100 Lecture Notes - Plantation Estate, Blockhouse, Kingsley Plantation

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Published on 2 Apr 2013
School
Western University
Department
Anthropology
Course
Anthropology 2100
Professor
April, 01, 2012
European Contact Part II
Historical Archaeology and the Under-classes:
-Historically people of higher status are more likely to be literate and represented in the documentary record and
the under-classes are often left out of documentary history but historical archaeology illuminates their lives
Archaeology of Slavery in North America:
-It started in the 1960s as a result of the American civil rights movement because the people wanted their history
to be revealed and in 1967 Charles Fairbanks (University of Florida) began excavations on the Kingsley Plantation
to learn about the lives of slaves
-In 1970 the significance of black history reached the bureaucrats and preservation laws were applied to federal
lands and there were more plantation excavations
Four Themes in the Archaeology of Slavery:
1) Living conditions under slavery 2) Status differences within the plantation community
3) Relationships of planter dominance and slave resistance 4) Formation of African American cultural identity
Teresa Singleton - Historical Archaeology as an Ethnic Archaeology of “The Other”:
-Archaeology is a field dominated by middle class white people and it has produced studies of ethnicity that reflect
the perspectives of the investigators rather than the perspectives of those being investigated
-The opposite of what it was intended to do but there needs to be more historical archaeology undertaken by (or
in cooperation with) descendant communities
Monticello the Plantation Estate of Thomas Jefferson 1770-1826:
Mulberry Row:
-Historic documents have been found for 19 buildings that housed Thomas Jefferson’s slaves and excavations
revealed a shift from barracks style to single-family housing
-The status among slaves was reflected in houses and some were dirt floored log cabins while others were large
stone houses with wooden floors and fireplaces and the status differences also apparent in artifacts and favoured
cooks and butlers were privileged
Henry Glassie on Historical Archaeology:
-" A knowledge of Thomas Jefferson might be based on his writings and only supplemented by a study of
Monticello (his estate), but for most people, such as the folks who were chopping farms out of the woods a few
miles to the east while Jefferson was writing at his desk, the procedure must be reversed. Their own statements,
though made in wood or mud, rather than in ink, must take precedence over someone else's possibly prejudiced,
probably wrong, and certainly superficial comments about them."
Middleburg Plantation:
-Historical archaeologist Leland Ferguson wrote Uncommon Ground which includes an empathetic narrative
account of slave life on Middleburg rice plantation in South Carolina in the 1700s and it was a combination of
history, folklore and archaeological data but it is still an ethnic archaeology of “the other”
Distinctive African American Archaeological Features:
-Colono ware -Tobacco pipes with African designs
-Slave cabins with secret cellars -West African styled architecture with clay walls
-Walls made of tabby (concrete of sand/oyster shell)
-Symbols that had symbolic/ritual significance in parts of Africa (ex: belief in water spirits) and all of this illustrates
cultural survival in slave populations
African-American Archaeology Requirements:
-Singleton posed that the study needed more use of African American resources, stronger relationships between
archaeologists and African-Americanists, and the inclusion of the black community being researched
The Archaeology of the Salmoni Site:
-The site is located in Amherstburg Ontario in the western basin but the building was later demoed
-There was a ceramic change throughout the western Basin tradition
-Fort Malden (Fort Amherstburg) replaced Fort Lernoult (at Detroit) in 1796 and it was built on a strategic location
and sketches of the Military Post at Amherstburg showed the Salmoni site and the officer’s blockhouse
-A 1796 plan of proposed Fort Amherstburg showing early land grants has been found and several paintings
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Document Summary

Historically people of higher status are more likely to be literate and represented in the documentary record and the under-classes are often left out of documentary history but historical archaeology illuminates their lives. In 1970 the significance of black history reached the bureaucrats and preservation laws were applied to federal lands and there were more plantation excavations. Four themes in the archaeology of slavery: living conditions under slavery 2) status differences within the plantation community, relationships of planter dominance and slave resistance, formation of african american cultural identity. Teresa singleton - historical archaeology as an ethnic archaeology of the other : Archaeology is a field dominated by middle class white people and it has produced studies of ethnicity that reflect the perspectives of the investigators rather than the perspectives of those being investigated. The opposite of what it was intended to do but there needs to be more historical archaeology undertaken by (or in cooperation with) descendant communities.

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