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Honoring Ancestors in Sacred SpaceThe Archaeology of an Eighteenth-Century African-Bahamian Cemetery$
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Grace Turner

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781683400202

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683400202.001.0001

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African Influence on Eighteenth-and Nineteenth-Century Cemeteries

African Influence on Eighteenth-and Nineteenth-Century Cemeteries

(p.41) 2 African Influence on Eighteenth-and Nineteenth-Century Cemeteries
Honoring Ancestors in Sacred Space

Grace Turner

University Press of Florida

DuBois described double consciousness as “two worlds within and without the Veil.” African-descended people had three options: 1) maintain an African-derived lifestyle separate from the larger, European-based society; 2) move between these two “worlds”; 3) function solely within the “world” of the dominant, European-based society. The Northern Burial Ground site was heavily disturbed in the mid-twentieth century so the focus was not on analyzing skeletal remains. Instead, the focus was on the cultural landscape created in this cemetery space. Any changes in cultural practices over time were interpreted as reflecting some change in worldview for the community using this cemetery. Archaeological investigations often do not include such cultural components as archaeologists may be unaware of these cultural features in an African-influenced cemetery space. The cultural landscape features noted were a location near water; placing personal items on graves; a planting at the head of graves; and evidence of food offerings. Comparative information for this site came from a late eighteenth-century black cemetery west of Nassau; nineteenth- and twentieth-century cemeteries on Crooked Island and San Salvador Island, also in the Bahamas; and cases of black cemeteries in the Caribbean and the United States.

Keywords:   double consciousness, cemetery, Nassau, cultural landscape

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