Identity, Spirituality, And Community At The John Dickinson Plantation Based On The Collection From Block III

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University of Delaware
This thesis analyzes material culture from the most recent excavation completed in 2000 at the John Dickinson Plantation. This thesis aims to better understand how the enslaved population who lived and worked in this area interacted with and used this material culture to persist, resist, and survive bondage. Specific artifacts such as an amethyst, varying dress items, ceramics, and a rumbler bell that were found in features such as barrel pits, a packed earth floor, a post hole, and a possible hearth were the focus of this analysis in order to consider what artifacts relating to identity, spirituality, and community can tell us about the experience of those who were enslaved at this site during the 1720 to 1820 time range. Through the use of comparative historical and archaeological studies, resources regarding slavery in Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic, and the use of excavation field notes, images, and summaries; it is evident that these artifacts were used to create a separate geography from the dominant white plantation geography. The artifacts from Block III reveal the complex actions and interactions that are important to understanding how the enslaved population was able to imbue not only creativity onto their surroundings but create space for the continuity of African cultural traditions within this environment of bondage.
John Dickinson Plantation, Material culture, Enslaved people, African cultural traditions