American Historical Archeology: Methods and Results

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Science  22 Jan 1988:
Vol. 239, Issue 4838, pp. 362-367
DOI: 10.1126/science.239.4838.362


For historical archeology to be effective, research methods must be employed that ensure that both archeological and historical data be synthesized in a constructive manner. An example from Flowerdew Hundred, a Virginia plantation, illustrates such an approach. Collections from eighteen sites(1619 to 1720) were studied and dated by the inside bore diameters of pipestem fragments from clay smoking pipes. The sites grouped into three distinct categories, each with a different date. The latest group of sites (1680 to 1720) contained Colono ware, a slave produced pottery; none of the earlier sites did, although there were blacks at Flowerdew Hundred as early as 1619. On the basis of studies of probate data and other primary historical sources, it is suggested that this pattern of Colono ware occurrence is due to a change in the social and residential status of blacks during the century and that only when they lived separately from the masters did they make this type of pottery.