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A Desolate Place for a Defiant PeopleThe Archaeology of Maroons, Indigenous Americans, and Enslaved Laborers in the Great Dismal Swamp$
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Daniel Sayers

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060187

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060187.001.0001

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Scission Communities, Canal Company Laborer Communities, and Interpretations of Their Archaeological Presence in the Great Dismal Swamp

Scission Communities, Canal Company Laborer Communities, and Interpretations of Their Archaeological Presence in the Great Dismal Swamp

Chapter:
(p.114) 5 Scission Communities, Canal Company Laborer Communities, and Interpretations of Their Archaeological Presence in the Great Dismal Swamp
Source:
A Desolate Place for a Defiant People
Author(s):

Daniel O. Sayers

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813060187.003.0005

Chapter 5 provides analysis of two archaeological Dismal Swamp sites. In the case of the nameless site, archaeology shows that an interior community persisted from ca. 1600 to the Civil War. It was organized around rank and kin principals, community-driven subsistence labor systems, and a steadfast avoidance of the world outside the swamp, including its material culture (commodities). They relied on ancient stone tools and ceramics left at the site by Indigenous Americans; reuse of ancient objects was a hallmark of daily living among interior groups. After 1800, an increase in outside world commodities and an apparent shrinking of the size of the community at the nameless site suggests that important changes occurred. Very differently, during the period 1800–1860 enslaved laborers living at the Cross Canal site relied heavily upon commodities from the world outside the swamp and developed informal trade systems within the swamp where such materials circulated. Evidence shows that the Cross Canal settlement may have developed trade relations with the nameless site settlement which helps explain the increase in outside world materials at the latter. Throughout the discussion, alienation is discussed and is a central part of analysis.

Keywords:   Nameless site, Cross Canal Site, Material culture, subsistence, Artifact reuse, Community organization, Community trade

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