Power and community: The archaeology of slavery at the hermitage plantation
The social and material lives of African Americans on antebellum plantations in the southern United States were heavily influenced by power relations inherent to the institution of slavery. Although planters exerted immense control over slaves, plantation slavery involved constant negotiation between master and slave. This give-and-take was part of the lived experience of enslaved African Americans, and one way to approach the study of this experience is by adopting a dialectical view of power. I illustrate how such a theoretical approach can be employed by examining the archaeology of slavery at the Hermitage plantation, located near Nashville, Tennessee. By examining material culture from former slave cabins located on different parts of the plantation, I explore how various categories of material culture reflected and participated in planters' efforts to control slaves, as well as how those efforts were contested.
Center for Archaeological Research
Thomas, Brian W. "Power and community: The archaeology of slavery at the Hermitage Plantation." American Antiquity 63, no. 4 (1998): 531-551.