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Excavation in progress. Sweat, mosquitoes, and dirt. Lots of fun...more photos below...keep scrolling...
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information on cabin areas:
For the most recent archaeological interpretations of the "Curer's Cabin" and the "Praise House", see a 1998 paper by Kris and Ken Brown
For some thoughts on the use of the word "Cabin", go to "Words".
For a colleague's comments on this research, go to Maria Franklin's page on this web site.
Questions or Comments?
For Ken Brown's recollections about working on this site for the past 14 years, go to the interview with Ken that I did in the summer of 1998. In this interview he shares something about how his interpretations developed over a long period of time. For some views from a student who was involved in the excavations at the very beginning, go to Doreen Cooper's page on this site. For a more recent view, see the page (including an interview, with charts and tables) about Robert Harris, a student who is now working with Ken. Other research (archaeological, historical, and ethnographic) done by other students can be seen by going to the pages for David Bruner, Jorge Garcia-Herreros, Mary Barnes, Carol McDavid, Mary Lynne Hill, Cheryl Wright, and Rebecca Barerra.
For more on the archaeology, read on....
|This archaeology of the quarters area of
this site is unusual in several ways.
These eyeglasses were found in the Curer's Cabin, near this piece of pencil. Slate pieces were also found.
Hundreds of pieces of flatware were found tin, pewter, bone and wood- handled, and even some silver.
Quite a few coins were found the one on the right is a five dollar gold piece.
Buckles, clasps, rivets, and other clothing hardware.
A great deal of jewelry and buttons were found pendants, findings, decorated buttons of various sorts.
number of artifacts left behind, along with the ways that
they were left in the ground, suggests that the people
living in these cabins in the late nineteenth century
left the site very quickly, and that they took little
with them when they left. For this reason, and because
the things they left were relatively undisturbed for
almost 100 years, the Jordan Plantation offers a very
revealing window into the lives the culture of the African-American
people who lived there.
Finally, because of all of these factors, the site has been excavated in a somewhat unusual way. See "Method" for a detailed description of how the actual digging took place, and why certain methods were used.
One of the first questions that Ken and his students asked was "Why and when did the people move away?". Several hypotheses have been and are continuing to be explored. See "Abandonment" to examine these questions.
Regardless of why and when the tenants left, the materials they left behind do reveal a great deal about their lives. We now know more about what jobs they had (both inside and outside their own community), what social and political statuses they had, and how they survived, physically and even perhaps spiritually. From what we have learned so far, it appears that many of these aspects of life were defined not only by the plantation's owners, but also by enslaved people and, later, by tenants and sharecroppers. This is not to say that these people were free of oppression, but rather to say that despite this oppression they found ways to empower themselves. Some of the activities that people were involved in were of African origin, especially shell and bone carving, curing, and metal working were of African origin (see "African Symbolism") and they played a very important role in the survival of this African-American resident community.
On many levels, despite the oppression of the ante and post bellum American south, these individuals found ways to manage their political, social, and supernatural affairs. Their story reveals much about oppression, enslavement, and persecution, but it also reveals much about the lives of people in terms of empowerment, creativity, and self-reliance. To learn about the activities that took place in the various cabin areas, use the main "Cabins" link to the left, and go from there. For a introduction to some of the people who lived in these residences, go to "Who lived there?". From there you will find links to genealogical information, family names, and other things.
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‹ Carol McDavid 1998