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Historical Archaeology

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 10–26 | Cite as

Culture bought: Evidence of creolization in the consumer goods of an enslaved Bahamian family

  • Laurie A. Wilkie
Article

Abstract

Archaeologists working in the Caribbean have identified evidence of African continuities in the craft and architectural traditions of enslaved peoples. Less attention has been paid to the role of the abundant, European-produced goods that are also found in the homes of enslaved families. The material culture from one enslaved Bahamian family is explored here, looking at how European-produced goods were selected by enslaved Africans and imbued with meanings in the creation of a Creole culture. The family discussed lived on Clifton plantation, on the island of New Providence, and consisted of an African-born couple and their two island-born children. The enslaved population, due to the paternalistic attitudes of the plantation owner, enjoyed an unusual degree of access to island markets. Using analyses of ceramics and pipes recovered from the household, it is argued that African-based aesthetics directed the selection and composition of the artifacts recovered from the dwelling.

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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurie A. Wilkie
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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