The New York African Burial Ground Project: Past Biases, Current Dilemmas, and Future Research Opportunities
Abstract: The recent excavation of skeletal remains from the African Burial Ground in New York City and their current bioanthropological study and analysis at Howard University is contributing to our understanding of the conditions faced by Africans and their descendants in colonial North America. The complex nature of African enslavement points to the need for interdisciplinary and comparative research on African origins, as well as the biocultural interaction of members of the African Diaspora in the context of European enslavement practices. Research on variation in the biological health status of African-descent communities in the Americas is shown to contribute to knowledge of their social and cultural histories. Through public approval and support, our research team has been able to pursue a more sophisticated and extensive research plan than is usually allowed. The identities thus constructed are complex and compel novel questions. Additionally, our methodological approach empowers the descendant community to engage in its own cultural and historical construction.
Resistance and Compliance: CRM and the Archaeology of the African Diaspora
Abstract: Archaeological investigations carried out in compliance with the dictates of the National Historic Preservation Act have played an integral role in developing our understanding of and approach to the archaeology of the African diaspora. These cultural resource management (CRM) studies include several landmark projects that helped shape the national approach to African American archaeology. However, as with other sectors of the discipline, CRM archaeology of the African diaspora is presently suffering from a period of stagnation and lack of focus. This paper considers CRM's contribution to the archaeology of African America, past and present, and attempts to project the future place of CRM in the study of the African American past.
Archaeology of the African Diaspora in Latin America
Abstract: Archaeology conducted at Latin American sites in Brazil, Cuba, Florida, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Peru has made significant contributions to our understanding of African Diaspora history. Historical archaeology of the African Diaspora in Latin America has explored technological innovations in pottery making, resistance to slavery, and everyday life. The unifying theme in these studies, like that of the Anglo colonies, has been ethnic or cultural markers of identity. Maroon studies have predominated, while plantation archaeology in Latin America is developing slowly. By placing Latin American sites within the context of theories such as ethnogenesis, focusing on intercultural interactions in Maroon and slave societies, and rediscovering the forgotten connections between Amerindians and Africans, it is possible to advance our understanding of African Diaspora social formation and culture creation.
Making History in Banda: Reflections on the Construction of Africa's Past
Abstract: Postmodern and post-structural stances have forced recognition of the ways in which the past is created in the present. Yet extreme forms of constructionism divert attention from the problem of how the past created the present and deny the autonomy of sociohistorical process. In this paper, I examine the tensions between what Michel-Rolph Trouillot (1995) terms "historicity 1" (the materiality of sociohistorical process) and "historicity 2" (historical narrative), arguing that it is important for archaeologists to retain a focus on how everyday practices of the past shaped the present. Yet the lived past cannot be considered in isolation from how we construct that past in the present. I examine these issues through a case study of Banda, Ghana, that draws on oral historical, archival, and archaeological sources to understand how daily life was affected by Banda's changing relationship to global trade and hegemonic polities, at the same time maintaining an eye toward how that past operates today in an area torn by a long-standing chieftaincy dispute (Stahl 2001b). In a concluding section, I reflect on implications for African American archaeology.
The Beginning and Future of African American Archaeology in Mississippi
Abstract: Nearly a decade ago, Theresa Singleton challenged archaeologists to begin investigations of black life in Mississippi, but only recently has a systematic program begun. In 1995, a program in the archaeology of African American sites in Mississippi was implemented at the University of Southern Mississippi. While still in the early phases of work, a number of sites have been located and tested in various regions in Mississippi. These sites range from antebellum cotton plantations to black communities of the early-20th century. The success of the initial stages of this program is due in large part to the development of partnerships with various agencies including African American preservation groups in Mississippi. The importance of working with descendant groups and conducting oral histories and ethnographic studies has been stressed in this program in order to make the most accurate interpretations possible about African American life from slavery to contemporary times in Mississippi and to ensure African Americans are involved in these interpretations.
Ethnographic Analogy, Archaeology, and the African Diaspora: Perspectives from a Tenant Community
Abstract: From its inception, archaeologists have been forced to rely on ethnographic analogies when attempting to make behavioral interpretations for past humans. In the study of the institution of slavery, archaeologists have drawn a vast majority of these analogies from modern cultures of West Africa - those cultures thought to have provided the largest number of enslaved peoples to North America. This paper will attempt to demonstrate that the Gullah and Geechee cultures of the Carolina Lowcountry may very well represent a far more important source for such analogies. These cultures have been overlooked as a result of the view among social scientists and historians that the Gullah/Geechee represent the "end result" of a unique set of evolutionary factors not found elsewhere within the South. Primary among these factors is their isolation from European Americans and other African Americans. However, the historic roots of the Gullah/Geechee are embedded within enslavement, Reconstruction, tenancy, sharecropping, and land holding - many of the same forces that helped to shape African American cultures throughout North America, unlike the cultures of West Africa. An example derived from the historical archaeological research conducted at the Levi Jordan Plantation, Brazoria County, Texas, will be employed to demonstrate the importance of the Gullah and Geechee analogies in understanding the lives of enslaved and freed African Americans.
Race, the National Register, and Cultural Resource Management: Creating an Historic Context for Postbellum Sites
Abstract: The Texas Historical Commission, Council of Texas Archeologists, and representatives from local cultural resource management (CRM) firms recently discussed the role of late-19th and early-20th century sites, including their educational value and fairness in representation of diverse social groups. I consider the dialogue regarding these sites as part of a national problem regarding the interpretation of National Register eligibility, especially in the realm of CRM work. The current interpretations are dependent upon site significance and integrity, often failing to consider a site's historical context by utilizing single-level analytical methods and disregarding regional interpretations. This results in a considerable bias in the sites that are nominated to the NRHP, as the central issues of race and historical representation and variations in site type are ignored in favor of one-sided evaluation methods and a lack of regional interpretations. To address this bias, improved communication and education within and between CRM firms, government agencies, and academic institutions are needed to re-emphasize the importance of multidisciplinary research at historic sites.
Critical Race Theory and the Archaeology of the African Diaspora
Abstract: The critical race theory movement, an outgrowth of critical legal studies, offers historical archaeologists a paradigm for a more sophisticated, politically engaged treatment of the issue of race. Unfortunately, an uncritical social constructionist analysis can result in the trivialization or appropriation of the concerns of minority scholars, activists, and communities, a position critical race theorists characterize as "vulgar anti-essentialism." Several examples of this process within historical archaeology are discussed. Historical archaeologists, particularly those studying the African Diaspora, need to develop community-based alliances that address common goals and enhance the relevance of their work. One potential mutually beneficial alliance would be with activists and scholars in the environmental justice movement.
Considering the Future of African American Archaeology
Abstract: Contributors to this volume have outlined a number of issues that will continue to influence African American archaeology in the decade. This essay serves to highlight and synthesize these disparate themes into a single discussion. In particular, issues related to the spatial foci of African American archaeology; presentations of the African American past that continue to reflect constructs of racial inequality; and the role of community partnering are emphasized. The essay is closed with a consideration of how issues grappled with in African American archaeology will be of increased importance to the broader historical archaeological community.
An East Indian Laborers' Household in Nineteenth- Century Jamaica: A Case for Understanding Cultural Diversity through Space, Chronology, and Material Analysis
Abstract: Cultural diversity is a hallmark of the Caribbean region. This diversity is the result of many diasporas, including European, African, East Asian, and East Indian. Historical archaeology has focused on cultural permutations of the demographically dominant European and African groups. The archaeological record of other groups is present and can add to our understanding of the true depth of diversity in the emergence of social landscapes. This paper explores chronological, spatial, and material evidence related to an East Indian laborers' household excavated in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica. The ways in which space was structured and materials used were distinct from patterns observed in the households of African Jamaicans who resided in a separate locus at the same site. This data suggests potential of examining cultural identities through archaeology.
Rituals Captured in Context and Time: Charm Use in North Dallas Freedman's Town (1869 - 1907), Dallas, Texas
Abstract: Freedman's Cemetery was the primary burial ground for virtually all of the African American community of Dallas, Texas, between 1869 and 1907. From 1991 through 1994, the Texas Department of Transportation sponsored archaeological investigations exhuming 1,150 in situ burials (containing a total of 1,157 individuals) from the path of highway construction. Fifteen burials were found with pierced coins, interpreted here as charms. The origins of coins modifi ed as charms are fi rst traced to the British Isles and the Middle Ages, and then an explanatory model for their adoption by enslaved (and later freed) African Americans is presented. Turning to the Freedman's Cemetery burial data, a detailed appraisal of the demographics of charm utilization within a late-19th-century urban African American community is given. Comparisons of the cemetery charm sample are made to the demographic profi le of charm use compiled from the Works Progress Administration ex-slave narratives. The manner of coin alteration (and thus charm creation) is also documented. Important differences between the historical documentary data and the archaeological evidence reveal the strengths and weaknesses inherent within each kind of data.
Moved Buildings: A Hidden Factor in the Archaeology of the Built Environment
Abstract: While moving entire buildings was a common occurrence in the historic past, little detailed information about this activity exists in the documentary records before the 20th century. Archaeological evidence of moved buildings is also virtually nonexistent in the literature. This study describes methods that were used to move buildings in the 18th through the early-20th centuries and the features and artifact patterns that should result from this activity. Excavation of three Historical period sites of buildings moved in the 19th century in the Knoxville, Tennessee, area has revealed features and produced artifact frequencies corresponding to these expected patterns. This suggests that historical archaeological evidence of moved buildings is more common than we realize and must be considered in any architectural studies.
A Seventeenth-Century Colonial Cottage Industry: New Evidence and a Dating Formula for Colono Tobacco Pipes in the Chesapeake
Abstract: This study examines locally manufactured tobacco pipes commonly found on 17th-century Chesapeake sites. Analysis of these artifacts has traditionally been dominated by questions regarding the ethnicity of their makers, often based on qualitative assessments of stylistic similarity between the pipes and the material culture of indigenous American or West African peoples. The authors maintain that quantitative approaches to studying tobacco pipes can serve to answer queries of who made, distributed, and smoked these items and where they were manufactured. Particularly, the authors explore whether Colono pipes were manufactured and distributed within the Virginia Colony. Stylistic evidence supports the idea that 17th-century Jamestown acted as a center of production and/or distribution for this tobacco pipe industry in the James River Valley. Additionally, bore diameter measurements reveal that certain standardized English tools were used to manufacture a majority of Colono pipes. The authors conclude that it is highly likely that these pipes were manufactured and distributed within a colonial market system. These insights also led to the creation and preliminary evaluation of a mean dating formula based on a temporal linear regression of the pipe data from excavations at Jamestown Island and its hinterland.
Writing for Many: Interdisciplinary Communication, Constructionism, and the Practices of Writing
Abstract: Though each of us works in different geographical areas (Ghana, the Lower Mississippi Valley, and the Great Lakes), our research is unifi ed by our use of multiple sources to explore the history of colonial encounters and commitment to demonstrate the value of archaeological sources in exploring the materiality of those encounters. Yet, each of us has struggled with writing about these encounters, particularly as we publish in a variety of venues serving multiple audiences of historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, and lay people. We examine the "split literatures" that develop from our efforts to write for a variety of audiences and assess how tensions between scientifi c discourse and narrative shape these literatures. The interdisciplinary collaboration that is celebrated as part of a rapprochement among history, anthropology, and archaeology requires new approaches to writing, which we explore here.
Jack S. Williams
The Evolution of the Presidio in Northern New Spain
ABSTRACT: Between 1550 and 1848, approximately 200 presidios were established on the northwestern frontier of Hispanic civilization in North America. Over time, the institution evolved from small garrisoned places into a distinctive type of military colony. Prior to 1750, many presidios were not fortified. Those that were reflected vernacular building traditions that echoed medieval models. During the last 100 years of Spanish rule, efforts were made to modernize the presidios and professionalize their garrisons. These projects were only partially successful. Despite increasingly limited resources, portions of the presidio system managed to survive into the middle of the 19th century.
The Presidio System in Spanish Florida 1565-1763
ABSTRACT:The Spanish founded at least 16 presidios in Florida, the first at San Agustín in 1565 and the last in Pensacola in 1756. Until 1698, there were no presidios west of the Apalachicola River. Beginning in that year and continuing into the early-18th century, the Spanish founded multiple presidios at Pensacola Bay and at St. Joseph's Bay. When the Spanish ceded Florida to the British in the Treaty of Paris (1763), which ended the Seven Years' War and exchanged all of Florida for Havana, only three presidios remained: San Agustín, Pensacola, and San Marcos.
La Ciudad de San Agustín: A European Fighting Presidio in Eighteenth-Century La Florida
ABSTRACT: Spain's claim to La Florida during the 18th century depended on its ability to maintain control of its capital, San Agustín. To ensure that the city survived the onslaughts of English-led or English-supported excursions, the Spanish erected an elaborate defense system. The system consisted of forts, earthen lines and bastions, blockhouses, sentry lookouts, and Native American and African perimeter settlements. The cornerstone of the colonial-walled city was Castillo de San Marcos. Historical events are used to understand the development of the presidio and how both the built environment of the community and the material culture of its residents were modified as a Consequence of military policies and strategies.
Presidio Santa María De Glave (1698-1719): A Frontier Garrison in Spanish West Florida
ABSTRACT: Presidio Santa María de Galve was a small but tenacious presidio community established to stop French aggression from Louisiana. While authorized by Spain, this presidio was a colony of New Spain. It was manned with petty criminals from Mexico City, Puebla, and Vera Cruz and teetered on the verge of disaster for most of its existence between 1698 and 1719. As there was no local Indian population to provide support, and the situado was irregular and limited, trade with the French colony at Mobile was the key to survival. The social organization of the community was revealed in the distribution of artifacts and architectural differences. Architectural remains and associated materials were found of the warehouse, three barracks buildings, and one church. Two cemeteries were also located. The stockade fort walls were also found and studied. The artifact assemblage is very different from that of Contemporary Presidio San Agustín or Catholic mission settlements as it is dominated by Mexican-made materials with a minority of Indian-made items. The information from Presidio Santa Maria de Galve in Pensacola has produced much new information and shed new light on the differences between East and West Spanish Florida.
Presidio Los Adaes: Spanish, French, and Caddoan Interaction on the Northern Frontier
ABSTRACT: Presidio Los Adaes was the capital of the Spanish Province of Texas for much of the 18th century. Named after the local Adaes Indians, a Caddoan group, Los Adaes was built in reaction to the French presence at Natchitoches, less than 20 miles to the east. The remoteness of Los Adaes, the lack of a French missionary effort, the willingness of the French to intermarry with both the Caddoan peoples and the Spanish, and the political/economic savvy of the Caddoan peoples were all factors that contributed to a Spanish, French, and Caddoan interaction characterized by cooperation, accommodation, and mutual support.
A Clash of Two Cultures: Presidio La Bahía on the Texas Coast as a Deterrent to French Incursion
ABSTRACT: Presidio La Bahía was built in 1722 over the remains of a 1685 French fort constructed by Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. The presidio served as a deterrent against future French aggression along the Texas Gulf Coast. Archaeological investigations conducted at the site from 1999 to 2002 recovered substantial information about the presidio and its relationship to the French fort. This work demonstrated that the Spanish erected an elaborate 16-point star-shaped fortification over the remains of the French fort, thus highlighting the importance Spain placed on defending the Texas Gulf Coast from future French threats.
The Archaeology of Presidio San Sabá: A Preliminary Report
ABSTRACT: Archaeological excavations at the 18th-century Spanish colonial site of Presidio San Sabá (41MN1) were conducted during the 2000 and 2001 Texas Tech Archaeological Field Schools under the supervision of Grant Hall and the author. Presidio San Saba represents one of the most important Spanish frontier outposts in Texas. Written records concerning the presidio consist primarily of military correspondence and supply records with little or no attention paid to the families of soldiers stationed at the fort or their daily lives. Excavations have concentrated on recovering information from the plaza area, the rooms alongside the interior walls of the presidio, and the 1937 reconstructed portions of the fort. Preliminary analyses of the cultural materials recovered from these excavations are providing a glimpse into the everyday lives of those who resided there as well as a better understanding of the architecture and layout of the fort.
The Presidion of San Antonio de Béxar: Historical and Archaeological Research
ABSTRACT: Presidio San Antonio de Béxar was one of the four presidios established to halt French aggression into Northern New Spain from Louisiana between 1690 and 1722. Today, the presidio is in the heart of modern-day San Antonio, Texas. While the urban built environment setting today has impacted the remains of the presidio, one original structure still stands. In addition, compliance archaeological investigations in a restricted urban area have identified remains of three civilian residences in the former presidial town adjacent to the presidio as well as a portion of the original irrigation ditch, the acequia madre. Hampered by a shortage of colonial historical research to connect archaeological remains and occupants through deed transactions, there is still much useful information to be gleaned from the archaeological remains. One contribution from the archaeological studies is the refinement of several broadly defined ceramic types such as Puebla Blue-on-White and lead-glazed coarse earthenwares into chronologically distinct variants.
San Diego Presidio: A Vanished Military Comunity of Upper California
ABSTRACT: Popular views of San Diego Presidio portray it as a fortified community, inhabited largely by Spanish soldiers, who followed customs that were predominantly European. Ongoing documentary and archaeological research suggest that these views represent an inaccurate picture of the settlement and its people. For more than a third of its years of existence (1769-1835), the presidio was not protected by any fortifications. Throughout its history, the population of the base included large numbers of civilians. The people of the presidio represented a racially mixed community. The way of life that they pursued included elements that drew heavily on local Native American, and Mesoamerican, cultural roots.
El Presidion de San Francisco: At the Edge of Empire
ABSTRACT: El Presidio de San Francisco, the northernmost presidio of New Spain, was founded in 1776 as a reaction to the Russian economic expansion onto the Pacific coast of North America. Demographics indicate that the pool of colonial recruits bound for San Francisco came from regions with a diverse cultural matrix, including Native Californians, after the presidio was established. Over time, the colonial population became increasingly homogenous in recognizing its own ethnic identity. Although the location of the presidio of San Francisco was generally known prior to 1993, its exact location and the extent to which it was preserved archaeologically was unknown. The 1993 discovery confirmed its predicted general location but also revealed that its situation and configuration was somewhat different than that predicted by historic documents. Structural examinations of the site reveal considerable information about the settlement's architectural development, which became increasingly institutionalized. Ongoing laboratory investigations of excavated deposits from the site indicate that dietary practices differed somewhat from other settlements in Alta California. The archaeological interpretation of this frontier presidio requires both global and local perspectives to reckon influences as diverse as European geopolitics and frontier pragmatics.
North Atlantic Fishes in Inland Context: Pickled Mackerel (Scomber scombrus) in the Historic Period
ABSTRACT: Several North Atlantic fish species were salted, pickled, or smoked and widely transported throughout inland North America during the 19th century. Atlantic mackerel (Scomher scomhrus) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) are among the most frequently referenced in historic accounts. These two are the fishes whose remains are reported most often from 19th-century archaeological contexts. Because mackerel were graded and priced primarily by fork length, they potentially offer a useful means of assessing socioeconomic status. A method for estimating mackerel fork length from remains recovered from archaeological contexts is provided for 10 bones of the mackerel skeleton. Bulk fine-screening of at least some deposits containing human food refuse is recommended to guard against recovery bias of remains from higher priced, larger mackerel.
Household Succession as a Catalyst of Landscape Change
ABSTRACT: Most residences excavated by historical archaeologists were occupied by several households. Consequently, the domestic landscape is a dynamic context that often reflects the occupational history of a former dwelling or houselot. Interestingly, major site events and landscape changes typically coincide with important junctures in the life history of households. Household succession, in which different residents occupy a dwelling, appears to be a significant transition that influences the domestic landscape. Shortly after inhabiting a residence, new occupants may expand a dwelling, move or raze extant outbuildings, alter fence lines, and change the location of refuse disposal areas. In turn, during excavation historical archaeologists are often confronted with a challenging array of features, deposits, and landscape modifications. In this paper, the influence of household succession upon landscape change is explored through consideration of several sites that cOllectively were occupied between the 17th and 20th centuries. The study sites illustrate that household succession is an important catalyst of landscape change. Consequently, the archaeological record at residences can be better contextualized and interpreted through the use of this concept.
Labor's Heritage: Remembering the American Industrial Landscape
ABSTRACT: Archaeology at industrial sites provides some of the greatest opportunities to tell the story of the impact of industrialization on workers and their communities. Archaeologists working on industrial sites have a long tradition of interpreting technology and industrial landscapes while issues related to labor are overlooked or glossed over. Other historical archaeologists have laid the groundwork for understanding labor relations and daily life in industrial contexts. An overview of the current state of industrial archaeology is provided, and a renewed call for addressing an archaeology of labor is issued. Work performed at industrial sites needs to address issues related to labor. The draft National Historic Landmark study by the National Park Service on labor archaeology serves as a good framework to deal with these ideas. Additional avenues of inquiry are also explored.
Recent Evidence for Broad Window Glass in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century America
ABSTRACT: Window glass is a common artifact found on many historic archaeological sites. Until now, some researchers have believed that crown window glass was used exclusively during the colonial period and early postcolonial period (Tunis 1965; Pepper 1971; Louis Berger and Assoc. 1996; LeeDecker et al. 1997; Bedell et al. 2002). Broad window glass had been assigned a terminus post quem of 1820, eventually replacing crown window glass by around 1840 (Louis Berger and Assoc. 1996). However, recent excavations at the First Baptist Church and Old Scots Meetinghouse sites in Monmouth County, New Jersey, past excavations at 51. Mary's City, Maryland, and historic documentation indicate that broad glass was manufactured and used in America during the colonial period, possibly as early as the 17th century. This paper will examine the production processes for both crown and broad window glass as well as the physical evidence for the use and production of broad window glass alongside crown window glass during the early colonial period.
Sand Blows Desperately: Land-Use History and Site Integrity at Camp Ford, a Confederate POW Camp in East Texas
ABSTRACT: Archaeological investigations revealed well-preserved remains of Camp Ford (41SMI81), an East Texas Civil War site where Confederate guards held up to 4,800 Union prisoners of war (paWs) in a stockaded compound on a sandy hillside. The prisoners brought tons of clayey sediment onto the site's loamy sand soil for construction of houses and as backdirt from refuse pits. Abandoned at war's end and probably salvaged for useable logs, Camp Ford became farmland, ultimately a pine-tree farm. Among identified subsurface features were stockade-wall trenches, refuse pits, dugouts, and clay-lined cabin floors. Trenches and pits in the sandy solum typically exhibited remarkably abrupt boundaries with the surrounding subsoil, in contrast to markedly less distinctive feature boundaries encountered at most sandy-landform sites in the region. Good preservation conditions resulted In large measure from postwar development of a clay-rich B horizon (Bt) and lamellae (thin clayey bands), which retarded eluviation in the underlying 2Eb horizon and thereby preserved feature boundaries.
E. C. Waters and Development of a Turn-of-the-Century Tourist Economy in Yellowstone National Park
ABSTRACT: After designation as the world's first national park in 1872, Yellowstone became a popular turn-of-the-century tourist destination. In response to increasing numbers of tourists, a unique maritime system developed on Yellowstone Lake, culminating with tour vessel E. C. Water's launch in 1905. The National Park Service's Submerged Resources Center 1996 archaeological investigations in Yellowstone National Park focused on the 125 ft.-long wooden-hulled screw steamer E. C. Waters' remains and other elements of Yellowstone Lake's tourist infrastructure. Yellowstone National Park's tourist development is examined in a world system framework, linking developments on Yellowstone Lake to late-19th-century western tourism and industrial capitalist expansion. The E. C. Waters site (48YEI3) is interpreted as part of a regional maritime system.