Subfloor Pits and the Archaeology of Slavery in Colonial Virginia

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9780817354541: Subfloor Pits and the Archaeology of Slavery in Colonial Virginia

Enslaved Africans and their descendants comprised a significant portion of colonial Virginia populations, with most living on rural slave quarters adjacent to the agricultural fields in which they labored. Archaeological excavations into these home sites have provided unique windows into the daily lifeways and culture of these early inhabitants. A common characteristic of Virginia slave quarters is the presence of subfloor pits beneath the houses. The most common explanations of the functions of these pits are as storage places for personal belongings or root vegetables, and some contextual and ethnohistoric data suggest they may have served as West Africa-style shrines. Through excavations of 103 subfloor pits dating from the 17th through mid-19th centuries, Samford reveals a wealth of data including shape, location, surface area, and depth, as well as contents and patterns of related feature placement. Archaeology reveals the material circumstances of slaves’ lives, which in turn opens the door to illuminating other aspects of life: spirituality, symbolic meanings assigned to material goods, social life, individual and group agency, and acts of resistance and accommodation. Analysis of the artifact assemblages allows the development of hypotheses about how West African, possibly Igbo, cultural traditions were maintained and transformed in the Virginia Chesapeake.

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About the Author:

Patricia Samford is Regional Manager, Historic Bath, North Carolina State Historic Sites in Bath, North Carolina.

Review:

" The manuscript is thorough and richly textured in use of ethnohistoric, art history, archaeological, and historical data. This will be a useful and concise source of data." -- Amy L. Young, Associate Professor of Anthropology, The University of Southern Mississippi

" This is a well-conducted piece of exciting synthetic research on a topic of interest to many archaeologists. This study features a thorough and sophisticated integration of ethnographic, documentary, and archaeological analyses. This work is an outstanding example of contextual archaeology." -- Laurie A. Wilkie, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

"The manuscript is thorough and richly textured in use of ethnohistoric, art history, archaeological, and historical data. This will be a useful and concise source of data."--Amy L. Young, Associate Professor of Anthropology, The University of Southern Mississippi

"This is a well-conducted piece of exciting synthetic research on a topic of interest to many archaeologists. This study features a thorough and sophisticated integration of ethnographic, documentary, and archaeological analyses. This work is an outstanding example of contextual archaeology."--Laurie A. Wilkie, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

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Book Description The University of Alabama Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. American Pbk. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. This book discusses the daily life and culture of enslaved Africans and their descendants. Enslaved Africans and their descendants comprised a significant portion of colonial Virginia populations, with most living on rural slave quarters adjacent to the agricultural fields in which they labored. Archaeological excavations into these home sites have provided unique windows into the daily lifeways and culture of these early inhabitants. A common characteristic of Virginia slave quarters is the presence of subfloor pits be-neath the houses. The most common explanations of the functions of these pits are as storage places for personal belongings or root vegetables, and some contextual and ethnohistoric data suggest they may have served as West African-style shrines. Through analysis of 103 subfloor pits dating from the 17th through mid-19th centuries, Samford reveals how data on shape, location, surface area, and depth, as well as contextual analysis of artifact assemblages, can show how subfloor pits functioned for the enslaved. Archaeology reveals the material circumstances of slaves lives, which in turn opens the door to illuminating other aspects of life: spirituality, symbolic meanings assigned to material goods, social life, individual and group agency, and acts of resistance and accommodation. Analysis of the artifact assemblages allows the development of hypotheses about how West African, possibly Igbo, cultural traditions were maintained and transformed in the Virginia Chesapeake. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780817354541

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Book Description The University of Alabama Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. American Pbk. Language: English . Brand New Book. This book discusses the daily life and culture of enslaved Africans and their descendants. Enslaved Africans and their descendants comprised a significant portion of colonial Virginia populations, with most living on rural slave quarters adjacent to the agricultural fields in which they labored. Archaeological excavations into these home sites have provided unique windows into the daily lifeways and culture of these early inhabitants. A common characteristic of Virginia slave quarters is the presence of subfloor pits be-neath the houses. The most common explanations of the functions of these pits are as storage places for personal belongings or root vegetables, and some contextual and ethnohistoric data suggest they may have served as West African-style shrines. Through analysis of 103 subfloor pits dating from the 17th through mid-19th centuries, Samford reveals how data on shape, location, surface area, and depth, as well as contextual analysis of artifact assemblages, can show how subfloor pits functioned for the enslaved. Archaeology reveals the material circumstances of slaves lives, which in turn opens the door to illuminating other aspects of life: spirituality, symbolic meanings assigned to material goods, social life, individual and group agency, and acts of resistance and accommodation. Analysis of the artifact assemblages allows the development of hypotheses about how West African, possibly Igbo, cultural traditions were maintained and transformed in the Virginia Chesapeake. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780817354541

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Published by The University of Alabama Press, United States (2007)
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Book Description The University of Alabama Press, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. American Pbk. Language: English . Brand New Book. This book discusses the daily life and culture of enslaved Africans and their descendants. Enslaved Africans and their descendants comprised a significant portion of colonial Virginia populations, with most living on rural slave quarters adjacent to the agricultural fields in which they labored. Archaeological excavations into these home sites have provided unique windows into the daily lifeways and culture of these early inhabitants. A common characteristic of Virginia slave quarters is the presence of subfloor pits be-neath the houses. The most common explanations of the functions of these pits are as storage places for personal belongings or root vegetables, and some contextual and ethnohistoric data suggest they may have served as West African-style shrines. Through analysis of 103 subfloor pits dating from the 17th through mid-19th centuries, Samford reveals how data on shape, location, surface area, and depth, as well as contextual analysis of artifact assemblages, can show how subfloor pits functioned for the enslaved. Archaeology reveals the material circumstances of slaves lives, which in turn opens the door to illuminating other aspects of life: spirituality, symbolic meanings assigned to material goods, social life, individual and group agency, and acts of resistance and accommodation. Analysis of the artifact assemblages allows the development of hypotheses about how West African, possibly Igbo, cultural traditions were maintained and transformed in the Virginia Chesapeake. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780817354541

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