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Fellows Forum: Plantation Social and Economic Strategies through Coarse Earthenware

Kenwood Parlor, Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies (next to the Jefferson Library)
Friday, August 15, 2014 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Lindsay Bloch, a Ph.D. Candidate at the Department of Anthropology at UNC Chapel Hill, will discuss her research focusing on lead-glazed coarse earthenwares, a type of ceramic produced in great quantity during the colonial period through the mid-nineteenth century.

Ms. Bloch has been utilize the DAACS database coupled with ICJS resources to critically examine plantation social and economic strategies through the lens of course earthenware, a specific class of material culture.  This ceramic type, omnipresent on domestic sites of the eighteenth-century Chesapeake, appears in varying quantities, and from different sources on domestic sites.  By identifying the origins of this ware through elemental analysis, it becomes possible to track its distribution across the region, and the mode of acquisition practiced by the plantation household: from transatlantic trade, to neighborly bartering, to plantation provisioning, and independent purchase.  In particular, this project considers how the differential consumption of coarse earthenwares from particular production sources may signal meaningful social and economic variation among consumers.  Being able to document the presence of particular ceramic produces within specific sites and times is a method for documenting broader practices that are often invisible archaeologically and within the documentary record.


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