The South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA) has been awarded a “Save America’s Treasures” grant from the National Park Service. The grant will fund a re-analysis of a collection of artifacts excavated at Yaughan and Curriboo plantations in Berkeley County, SC in 1979. The Yaughan and Curriboo collections were the basis for some of the earliest studies of the lifeways of enslaved communities in the Southeast. This new study will employ methods developed since the artifacts were excavated in 1979, and ask new research questions about life in South Carolina slave quarters. Results will be made available to the public at The Digital Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS).
The article below is reprinted from the March 2011 issue of Legacy, the newsletter of SCIAA, with kind permission of Dr. Charles Cobb.
SCIAA Awarded Collections Grant
By Charles Cobb, Director of SCIAA
SCIAA has just received a major collection award in the amount of $192,000 from a National Park Service program known as “Save America’s Treasures.” Sharon Pekrul, Jonathan Leader, and myself are the Princial Investigators on the grant, which will go toward rehabilitating and stabilizing archaeological collections from slave cabin contexts at the Yaughan and Curriboo plantations in the Lowcountry.
|“These collections hold considerable promise of addressing new research questions concerning slavery that have emerged over the 30 years since the archaeological work was originally conducted.”|
|Charles Cobb, Director of The South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA)|
These collections, dating from fieldwork in 1979, encompass a large sample of enslaved African and African American households encompassing a period from about 1740 to 1826. They are nationally recognized as containing some of the earliest dated excavated slave house contexts in the Carolinas, and for spanning a critical period of transformation in the Southern economy from colonial to antebellum times. Studies based on these materials were pivotal in historical archaeology for shifting emphasis away from the “Big House” and toward the everyday lives of slaves.
Importantly, these collections hold considerable promise of addressing new research questions concerning slavery that have emerged over the 30 years since the archaeological work was originally conducted. Thus, our collaborative partner in the project, The Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS; www.daacs.org), will re-analyze the data and make it freely available to the public. DAACS currently provides highly standardized artifact, contextual, and spatial data from over 40 excavated slave quarter sites throughout the Chesapeake, South Carolina and the Caribbean.
In our partnership with DAACS to curate and analyze the collection to modern standards, a new generation of Americans will be able to significantly advance our historical understanding of slavery in South Carolina and its relationship to slave societies throughout the world.