Date Awarded

Fall 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Neil Norman

Committee Member

Grey Gundaker

Committee Member

Frederick H Smith


Though there is no shortage of 17th century plantation sites in the Chesapeake archaeology enslaved African populations is incipient, but not yetflourishing. This may be a reflection of the result of those communities’ underrepresentation in the archaeological and documentary records from that time period. Detailed analysis of archaeological sites where Africans were present can reveal the material residues of their lives, even when this material culture is inundated by European materials. This thesis marshals archaeological, historiographic, and ethnohistorical data to use the excavations at the Rich Neck Plantation as a window into the diversity of the 17th century Atlantic world. An interpretation that highlights the composite nature of captive African communities is produced and juxtaposed against interpretations of the same archaeological artifacts and features through the landscape features and material culture of the English land owners. Tandem analysis of the archaeological record through the perspectives of these groups provides insight into the ways their perceptions of their surroundings overlapped and diverged.



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