Date of Graduation

Fall 2015


Master of Science in Applied Anthropology


Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Sobel


Scholarly research on slavery in the U.S. has focused on large commercial plantations in the Old South. Yet a majority of slaveholders and nearly half of the enslaved lived in smaller slaveholding houses and family farms (Burke 2010:4). This study helps redress the dearth of research on small slaveholdings through study of the Robert Newsom Farmstead, or "Celia" Site (23CY497), located in Callaway County, Missouri. The research goal is to model the antebellum spatial organization of the landholding, thereby increasing our understanding of slavery at the Newsom site and on non-plantation slaveholdings generally. This was accomplished through collection and analysis of historical and archaeological data. Documentary research has yielded new information about the histories and relationships of Newsom Farmstead occupants. The results of archaeological pedestrian survey and shovel testing, together with the historical findings, clarifies the chronology, construction, design, locations, and functions of site structures and features, including Robert Newsom’s dwelling, possible slave quarters, the still house, and the Newsom family burying ground. In the context of a more detailed model of farmstead spatial organization, these findings underscore the relatively intimate nature of the domestic arrangement between slave and slaveholder on the Newsom Farmstead, and thereby contribute to our knowledge of small slaveholdings more broadly.


Robert Newsom, Celia Missouri, slavery, slave, farmstead, archaeological, archaeology, historical, history, trial

Subject Categories



© James Adam Halpern

Open Access

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Anthropology Commons