|Location:||Montpelier, St. James Parish, Jamaica|
|Occupation Dates:||Last-quarter 18th through the second-quarter 19th century. Phasing and mean ceramic dates can be found on the Chronology Page.|
|Excavator(s):||Barry Higman with the collaboration of Tony Aarons and Robert Riordan|
House 26 was the first domestic site excavated at New Montpelier. The site was chosen because it presented a rectangular shape that was easily identified in the grassy surface, with some elements of the stone foundation protruding, and because it was near to the centre of the known village area and immediately beside what appeared to be a shallow sunken pathway leading upslope through the village. Extensive excavation in 1973 and 1975 exposed a complete stone foundation with evidence of occupation during the final decades of slavery and beyond abolition down to about 1860.
Detailed documentary data for the houses standing at New Montpelier in 1825, published in British Parliamentary Papers in 1832, includes information on 24 stone houses. These made up only 27 percent of the total village housing stock at that date, the other houses being wattled (wattle-and-daub) or Spanish-walled (timber frames infilled with stone and mortar). Although the houses of 1825 are described in some detail in the surviving documents, and associated with family household groups, it has not been possible to relate these specific descriptions to particular house foundations at the village site.
Only houses with stone foundations were visible by surface survey and only these stone foundations were excavated. Within the village a total of 42 complete stone foundations were identified and traces found of at least another ten. House 26 is one of the former, with a complete foundation. Probably it is also one of the houses described in 1825. The precise boundaries of the village are known from a plan of the plantation surveyed in 1821. By 1973 the stone wall that enclosed two sides of the village in 1821 had been levelled to allow free grazing of livestock but the aqueduct that marked the other two sides remained and was supplemented by a barbed wire fence.
Generalized documentary evidence of objects that might survive in the archaeological record (such as iron cooking pots and thimbles) can be found for Montpelier, specifically Old Montpelier, in the early nineteenth century, but none of this evidence can be attributed directly to House 26 or any other house site. The list of houses from 1825 did enumerate the cattle, hogs and poultry belonging to each household but again it is impossible to link this evidence specifically to House 26. Descriptive accounts of plantation life at Montpelier exist from scattered points in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, so that the broad context is well known.
Excavation history, procedure and methods
Surface surveys and excavation commenced in 1973, beginning with a joint project by students from the University of the West Indies and Johns Hopkins University, led by Robert Riordan as archaeologist, together with Jack P. Greene, Barry Higman and Douglas Hall. Further excavations were undertaken in 1975, with students from the University of the West Indies, staff from the Port Royal Archaeological Project, and volunteers, led by Barry Higman and Tony Aarons. Elevations were taken using the plane table and tied to a local datum, and a north-south grid established, for the entire village site.
Excavation was principally by levels of varied depth and excavation units or quadrats linked to the site grid, though construction trenches and other special features were treated separately. Most of the excavation was achieved using hand tools, generally trowels and brushes. Screening was not applied systematically to most of the quadrats of House 26 but when used a 1/8 inch screen was employed. No flotation was carried out. Ceramics were mended to enable a Minimum Vessel Count (MVC), and the bores of clay smoking pipes measured using drills. Specialized analysis of the beads was carried out by Karlis Karklins. The faunal remains were studied by Elizabeth J. Reitz, assisted by Thomas Pluckhan and Philip Cannon, using the comparative skeletal collection at the Zooarchaeological Laboratory, Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia, Athens. In estimating the Minimum Number of Individuals (MNI), each house was regarded as a discrete analytical unit.
Excavation proved House 26 to have a foundation completely constructed of stone with external dimensions 27 by 18 feet. The stone was all limestone, blocks readily found within the site itself or transported short distances from quarries on the property. The foundation averaged 18 inches in width, with the corners largely made up of cut stones, smoothed to even surfaces on their external faces. Some of these corner stones were massive, the largest being 7 by 13 by 40 inches. Cut stones also dominated in the lowest course of the walls but irregular, smaller and unworked stones were more common in these sections, packed with smaller stones and cemented by lime mortar.
All of the evidence derived from excavation suggests that House 26 was not merely a house with a stone foundation, perhaps topped by a Spanish-wall or wattle-and-daub, but rather a structure in which stone constituted the walls all the way up to the eaves. The roof of the building was probably shingled, as suggested by the documentary report of 1825. Large quantities of nails were excavated in a fairly even scatter that suggests they secured the rafters, laths and shingles. The weight of construction using stone probably meant that the walls narrowed towards the eaves and that they were low, perhaps not more than 7 feet in height.
Excavation also demonstrated that the foundation of House 26 was laid in a construction trench, extending about 3 inches beyond the stones on the outside of the house. The construction trench was excavated separately but yielded few artifacts useful for dating.
The floor of House 26 was composed of packed marl and small stones, mixed with soil and tamped to a smooth surface. This layer averaged 3 inches in depth, but could not be identified in all areas of the house. There is no evidence of boards in the floor. Discolouration in the soil of the floor suggests that House 26 was divided into two rooms, with the internal dimensions 13 by 15 and 9 by 15 feet, the large room fronting the pathway.
In House 26 the presence of a doorway can be inferred from a concentration of stone inside and outside the centre of the western wall, some of these stones being cut stones that perhaps served as steps. Probably there was a second door. Three door keys were found in House 26 but it is not certain that these turned locks in the doors of this house. It is unlikely that the house had windows of glass, at least during the period of slavery.
Summary of research and analysis
The orientation of House 26 suggests that it was one of a series of houses laid out in parallel lines (as in the case of House 14) and therefore perhaps built in 1819 when enslaved people were moved from Shettlewood to New Montpelier and had houses prepared for them. That this was the year of construction of House 26 finds support in the evidence of the artifacts. The Mean Ceramic Date is 1829, the Binford Pipe-stem Formula gives an average of 1767, and the house contained a coin dated 1784. Thus it may be argued with confidence that House 26 was built under supervision of the plantation management, in terms of precise layout and dimensions, and that resources of labour and materials (including stone, lime, timber, shingles and nails) were made available. The actual work of construction would have been performed by the enslaved masons and carpenters of New Montpelier.
Interpretation of the occupations of the persons occupying House 26 come most directly from the tool-related artifacts. During slavery, and beyond, annual distributions were made of various imported metal agricultural tools, notably cutlass or machete, bill and hoe, but other tools emerged from the excavations. House 26 yielded three hoe heads, more than any other of the excavated sites and all within the walls of the house; these were all made of wrought iron and had shapes typical of the eighteenth century. A cutlass blade with rivets, that would have held its wooden handle in place, was also found inside House 26. Associated with these tools were four files, more than in any other of the sites, and an ax head and three wedges (perhaps used in splitting timbers), and a hammer head. This pattern suggests a family group chiefly working in field labour but perhaps including a person who worked in the woods or as a plantation carpenter.
Of the domestic life that was lived within the walls of House 26, little can be established, with items of furniture and methods of lighting hard to identify. There is some tantalizing evidence of the legs of a bed, that had worked their way into the floor, but this cannot be confirmed. House 26 was also unusual in yielding artifacts associated with lighting, including an iron candle-snuffer, a two-spout tin lamp, a brass spout from an oil lamp, and two tinder box steels.
The food history of the household can be reconstructed, at least in some of its aspects. The documentary record for Montpelier describes the annual distribution, in the 1820s, of imported iron cooking pots and knives. These are present among the excavated artifacts. House 26 yielded a large proportion of knives and two metal spoons, but no forks. There were also fragments of a metal grater, used for the preparation of cassava, coconut or spices. Wear marks on stones may indicate that they had been used to grind corn or other grain. It is known, however, that vessels and utensils crafted from organic materials, such as wood, calabash, gourd and bamboo, were in common use, and these items were not recovered archaeologically.
Most of the numerous ceramics found at House 26 related to the preparation and consumption of food, and most of these items were imported (British-made) goods, purchased in the local markets or obtained from the plantation’s resources. It is surprising that so little locally made pottery was found, in light of the vigorous African tradition that survived in the island. Once again, it is difficult to assess the extent to which the ceramics, whether local or imported, were balanced by objects of organic materials. Of the excavated ceramics, the MVC showed House 26 to have 84 unique vessels, more than House 14 (50 vessels) and House 37 (76 vessels). In terms of shape and type, the vessels of House 26 included a large proportion of bowls (41.7 percent), significantly more than for any other site. Compared to the other house sites, House 26 was characterized by its large proportion of whiteware, most of these vessels having transfer-print, willow-print or other decorations. Only 1.2 percent of the vessels excavated at House 26 were locally-made ceramics or yabbas.
Direct evidence of the food consumed at House 26 is confined to animal sources and the data obtained from the vertebrate faunal analysis carried out by Elizabeth J. Reitz. House 26 yielded a lower MNI (7) than any of the other houses and this number derived from a low retrieval of bone fragments, probably as a result of the limited use of screening at this site. The individuals represented in House 26 were cow, pig, chicken, a possible dog and unidentified rodent, and most interestingly a hutia. Contemporary descriptive accounts refer to the use of all these as potential food but whether the individuals found in House 26 were actually eaten is less certain as is the question which parts were used as human food. House 26 is again interesting however because it yielded the only example of burned bone found in the village excavations, and the only examples of slice bone. Other bones at House 26 had been sawed or cut, indicating butchering. Fish, distributed in the largest quantities in pickled and salted form to the enslaved people of New Montpelier, left little trace.
Clothing and costume is known archaeologically principally through its technologies and accessories, whereas the documentary record specific to Montpelier emphasizes the kinds and amounts of cloth distributed by the planters during slavery along with caps and hats, and general descriptive accounts focus on style and fashion. The point of overlap is found in the needles, thimbles and scissors, that occur in both contexts. House 26 yielded the remains of a pair of scissors but no needles in spite of their being handed out in quantity. Outside the documentary record specific to Montpelier, only five buttons were found in House 26, by far the lowest number for any of the house sites.
House 26 produced the largest number of beads found at any of the house sites, 23 of the 64 overall. Analysis by Karlis Karklins has identified 22 bead types in the New Montpelier collection. House 26 had representatives from 14 of these types, and contained the unique metal bead, of gilded brass. The most common types at House were of drawn glass, particularly tubular, undecorated blue beads, but House 26 was unusual in having in addition a variety of wound glass beads of varied colours. Karklins argues that the evidence from the beads suggests that all four of Houses 14, 24, 26 and 37 were occupied at about the same time.
This interpretation fits closely the conclusions drawn from the other datable artifacts as well as documentary record for New Montpelier, that the houses were occupied in the later decades of slavery and for perhaps two decades beyond abolition. The people who lived in House 26 experienced the brutality and hardships of slavery, the rebellion of 1831/32, and the apprenticeship, but remained on the estate after 1838 (or, less probably, were replaced by like individuals) to endure the immediate post-slavery period at least down to the abandonment of sugar production. As to the particular status of the occupants of House 26 within the community of the village, the fact that they lived in a house built of stone did not necessarily point to their being relatively well off. If one or more of them was a carpenter, as suggested, then they would have had certain material benefits within the limits of the system, hints of which might be found in the beads and the lighting artifacts, but most of the occupants of House 26 were probably spent their lives in arduous field labour.
Australian National University
Things you need to know about House 26 before you use the data:
- There are two numbering systems for houses at the Montpelier slave village. Both systems were implemented by Barry Higman. Higman numbered the New Montpelier slave houses while in the field in the 1970s and renumbered the houses for his 1998 book on Montpelier Plantation (Higman 1998). The DAACS analysis has adopted the numbering system used by Higman in his published work. We provide the old numbering and new numbering information here as anyone returning to the original field notes will need to convert the old field numbers to the new numbering system.
Old house numbers used in 1970s field notes and artifact logs. New house numbers used in Higman 1998 and by DAACS. DAACS Project IDs House 1 House 26 1202 House 4 House 14 1200 House 14 House 37 1203 House 20 House 24 1201
- The New Montpelier Slave Village and Sugar Works maps available on the Site Images Page are compiled from different sources. The sugar works section of the map is an optimal estimate of the c. 1834 layout, based on documentary references of building locations as well as a field survey conducted by Higman of existing structures in the mid 1970s. The complete slave village area was mapped in 1976 during which all architectural elements still visible on the landscape were plotted. The Slave Village and Sugar Works maps were then aligned using GPS points acquired during a 2006 visit to the New Montpelier site by DAACS crew and Higman. Additionally, two foot contours are available for the slave village area based on a comprehensive landscape survey carried out during the mid to late 1970s Higman.
- Field measurements are in feet and tenths-of-feet.
- Quadrat IDs are in the format “E22S08” which represents the easting and northing coordinates of the northwest corner of the quadrat.
- Expansion in geographic coverage has required that DAACS staff work outside of the Chesapeake region and move beyond their main laboratory at Monticello. DAACS undertook its first international project during the first five months of 2006 when it moved its lab to Kingston, Jamaica. The DAACS Jamaica team consisted of Ms. Leslie Cooper, DAACS Archaeological Analyst, Mr. Henry Sharp, DAACS Archaeological Analyst, and Dr. Jillian Galle, DAACS Project Manager. DAACS staff spent 2.5 months analyzing archaeological collections curated by the University of West Indies Department of History and Archaeology and 2.5 months working with collections curated by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.
Important information about the Montpelier Collections
The following sections include information about the Montpelier collections in general as well as specific details about the House 26 assemblage. They contain important information about unprovenienced artifacts and artifacts that were missing from the collection. It is essential that researchers review these sections carefully before beginning their analysis.
The New Montpelier collections are over 30 years old and have been curated by a number of different archaeolgists and Jamaican institutions. As a result, DAACS uncovered two major problems with the collections: missing artifacts and missing or incomplete contextual information for existing artifacts. These problems, and our solutions to these problems, are described below. A general discussion of the difficulties is first provided, followed by detailed discussion of site by site concerns. We hope this document will serve as our best understanding of the history of the New Montpelier collections and will guide future researchers’ work with these materials. Please do not hesitate to contact email@example.com with any additional questions about the Montpelier collections
New Montpelier was excavated between 1973 and 1980. A memo on file at the Univesity of West Indies, Mona archaeology laboratory that dates from the late 1980s as well as personal communication with Higman indicate that all artifacts from the New Montpelier excavations were processed in the early 1980s at the Jamaica National Heritage Trust’s archaeological facility located in the Naval Hospital in Port Royal, Jamaica. Once processed, the artifacts were curated by the JNHT until the late 1980s. In 1987, U.W.I’s Department of History hired Kofi Agorsah as its first full-time archaeologist. Shortly after his hire, the New Montpelier collections were moved from the Naval Hospital to the University of West Indies campus. Higman indicates that some New Montpelier artifacts remained on exhibit at the Trust. Hurricane Ivan (2004) caused significant damage to the Naval Hospital and the facility has remained closed due to structural damage since the storm, although it continues to house archaeological collections curated by the JNHT.
As is discussed in greater detail below, DAACS staff discovered that all ceramics for Montpelier House 14 were missing from the collections housed at U.W.I. Smaller percentages of ceramics from other houses were missing and we could not find a number of significant, non-ceramic objects described by Higman in his artifact logs. It is likely that some of these objects were on exhibit at the JNHT prior to Hurricane Gilbert, which struck Jamaica in 1988 and which hit Port Royal and the Naval Hospital particularly hard. During our work at the Trust, Dr. Galle (DAACS Project Manager) had several discussions with Mrs. Anne-Marie Howard Brown, curator for the JNHT, about the Montpelier collections. Mrs. Howard-Brown indicated that she had recently seen one or two boxes of Montpelier artifacts at either the Naval Hospital or Headquarters House, the current location for the JNHT’s Department of Archaeology. Unfortunately, JNHT staff was unable to locate these artifacts during DAACS’s time in Jamaica. We conclude that most, if not all, of the missing New Montpelier collections remain at the Jamaica National Heritage Trust or were lost in the damage incurred by Hurricanes Gilbert and Ivan.
Missing Contextual Information for Artifacts
When the New Montpelier artifacts were initially processed, Higman and his staff used ink and nail polish to label all of the ceramic and tobacco pipe sherds from New Montpelier with their appropriate contextual information. Personal communication with Higman indicates that these labeled artifacts were bagged by context with other artifacts from the same contexts. These artifacts were subsequently stored at the Naval Hospital in Port Royal.
After the Montpelier artifacts were transferred to U.W.I., they appear to have been used as part of a teaching collection. A number of class projects completed in the late 1980s and early 1990s have survived. They indicate that subsets of the New Montpelier collection were given to students to inventory. At some point during this inventory process a decision was made to ignore horizontal context designations and to group all of the New Montpelier artifacts by stratigraphic level. When we arrived at U.W.I., we therefore discovered that all artifacts had been bagged by stratigraphic level within each House and that most artifacts had been removed from their context or unit designations. The only artifacts that retained contextual information were those ceramic and tobacco pipe sherds labeled by Higman in the early 1980s. This meant that we encountered boxes full of artifacts labeled “House 1, Level 1,” “House 1, Level 2,” etc. however no context information within levels was retained. Vertical control had been retained for the New Montpelier artifacts but horizontal control had been eliminated. All artifacts except for ceramics and tobacco pipes have no horizontal contextual data and the physical reanalysis of these artifacts can now only be conducted on the most general site-wide level.
Since the majority of ceramic and tobacco pipe sherds had context labels, DAACS staff was able to physically reanalyze these ceramic and tobacco pipes sherds to DAACS standards. We were also able to place most beads and buttons in their correct contexts based on photographs that Higman had labeled with context numbers. Beads and buttons that could be reliably provenienced were cataloged to DAACS standards. Any ceramic, tobacco pipe, bead, or button that could not be placed with certainty into a context was cataloged as an unprovenienced artifact within its correct house number (i.e. House 37-UNPROV). Examples of unprovenienced artifacts include ceramics whose ink labels were illegible or were partially missing with enough data to indicate the sherd was from a specific house. In other cases we might have known that an artifact was from a specific house due to its bag or box label but we could not assign it to a context. An “UNPROV” context was created by DAACS for each of the four houses analyzed. House 37 has a context known as “1203-UNPROV,” House 26 has “1202-UNPROV,” House 14 has “1200-UNPROV,” and House 24 has “1201-UNPROV.”
The remainder of the artifacts (glass, nails, brick, tools, utensils, etc.) had no context information associated with them. Fortunately, Higman’s artifact logs were exceptionally detailed and basic information for these artifact classes were entered into their appropriate context within the DAACS database. The artifacts entered into the DAACS database using Higman’s paper artifact catalog have general descriptions but no measurements, color descriptions, manufacturing technique information, and so forth.
Details on the Analysis of All Artifact Classes
As noted above, the majority of ceramic and tobacco pipe sherds had context labels. DAACS staff was able to physically reanalyze these ceramic and tobacco pipes sherds to DAACS’s standards using our cataloging protocols. We were also able to place most beads and buttons in their correct contexts based on photographs that Higman had labeled with context numbers. Beads and buttons that could be reliably provenienced were cataloged to DAACS standards. Any ceramic, tobacco pipe, bead or button that could not be placed with certainty into a context was cataloged as an unprovenienced artifact within its correct house number (i.e. House 37-UNPROV). Examples of unprovenienced artifacts include ceramics whose ink labels were illegible or were partially missing with enough data to indicate the sherd was from a specific house. In other cases we might have known that an artifact was from a specific house due to its bag or box label but we could not assign it to a context.
All other artifact classes (glass vessels and objects, nails, brick, tools, utensils, etc.) in the Montpelier collections had no context information associated with them. Fortunately, Higman’s artifact logs were exceptionally detailed and basic information for these artifact classes were entered into their appropriate context within the DAACS database. The artifacts entered into the DAACS database using Higman’s paper artifact catalog have general descriptions but no measurements, color descriptions, manufacturing technique information, or other DAACS cataloging protocols completed.
House 26 Collections
Although the preceding discussion applies to the entire Montpelier collection, we also encountered peculiarities specific to each house analyzed. This section summarizes our work with the collections from House 26, provides artifacts counts, information on missing artifacts and estimates of the percentage of artifacts missing per house.
All ceramics, tobacco pipes, beads, and buttons were analyzed by DAACS analysts to DAACS standards. Basic information for the remaining artifacts was entered into the database from the paper finds list. One hundred seventy-six ceramics, 19 beads and 3 buttons had no contexts but could be identified as House 26 therefore they were cataloged into the “UNPROV” context for House 26. Researchers doing spatial analyses should be aware that 27.5% of the ceramics, 42.8% of the buttons, and 54.2% of the beads were unprovenienced at House 26, therefore many contexts do not contain all of the artifacts in the finds list.
Using the ceramic counts provided by Higman’s finds list, it is estimated that 65 ceramic sherds from House 26 were missing from the collection. Approximately 10% of the ceramics excavated from House 26 were missing from the collections at U.W.I. These sherds may reside at the JNHT.
|House 26||Total Cataloged Artifacts||Unprovenienced Cataloged Artifacts (percentage of artifact class that is unprov) ¹||Missing Artifacts (Percentage of Artifacts Missing)²|
|Ceramics||640||176 (27.5%)||65 (10%)|
|All Other Artifacts||1722||1 (0%)||N/A|
|Tobacco Pipes||30||0 (0%)||N/A|
|Total Artifacts||2,842||199 (7%)||N/A|
|Contexts (Field Records)||37||N/A||N/A|
|¹ “Unprov Artifacts” refers to the number of artifacts analyzed by DAACS that have no identifiable provenience. “Percentage unprov” refers to the percentage of the total artifact count that is unprovenienced.|
|² “Missing Artifacts” indicates the number of artifacts missing from each category. “Percentage of Artifacts Missing” records the percentage of artifacts missing from the category of artifact. Both numbers are calculated by comparing the counts in Higman’s paper finds list with the actual number of ceramic sherds that we found in the collection.|
Barry Higman’s Montpelier Archives
Higman spent over a week with DAACS staff at Mona between mid-February and mid-March 2006. During this time, Higman transferred all of his excavation and artifact photographs to the DAACS team for processing. These photographs were scanned and labeled at the DAACS lab at Monticello. The photographs were filed in acid-free photo-sleeves and placed in three-ring binders. These binders were presented to Mrs. Karen Spence in the archaeology lab at the University of West Indies Mona.
Higman also gave all of his paper field maps, notes and artifact logs to DAACS. These journals and maps were scanned at Monticello. These documents are in the process of being tranmitted to the West Indies Collection at the University of West Indies, Mona Library.
Access to a subset of the photographs, field notes, and maps are provided on this website. The DAACS laboratory at Monticello will maintain the complete digital archive of field and artifact photographs, field notes, and scanned maps from New Montpelier.
Use of Montpelier Images
DAACS will provide digital copies of all of these documents to researchers for free as long as they are used for non-profit activities such as research, teaching, and private study.
If a researcher plans to use artifact or site images for profit, written approval from the chair of the U.W.I., Mona Department of History and Archaeology must be received prior to the distribution of the digital files.
The DAACS-Montpelier project would not have occurred without the unstinting support provided by a number of individuals and academic departments at the University of West Indies, Mona. Barry Higman has been exceptionally generous with his data, time, and knowledge of the island. We could not have accomplished our work without him. The support and friendship of Dr. Swithin Wilmot, Chair, Department of History and Archaeology, Dr. Philip Allsworth-Jones, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, and Mrs. Karen Spence, Archaeology Technologist made our experience at U.W.I. a positive and successful one. Dr. James Robertson, Ms. Thera Edwards, and Mr. Ivor Connolly also provided valuable advice. All of these individuals gave us the warmest of welcomes, as did the general faculty in the Departments of History and Archaeology and Geography and Geology.
The Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery
The original excavators of the House 26 site did not assign numbers to individual features. DAACS staff has assigned feature numbers using the original excavation records. Feature Numbers assigned by DAACS have a F-prefix, which precedes the number (i.e. F01 equals Feature 1).
Excavated contexts that belong to the same depositional basin (e.g. a post hole and post mold or the layers in a single pit) have been assigned a single feature number. In addition, single contexts have been given feature numbers when the original field records indicate that the excavators recognized a context’s spatial distinctiveness from surrounding contexts.
DAACS staff created the contexts “D279,” “D280,” “D281,” and “D282” which are associated with House 26 features that were not excavated and therefore were not assigned contexts in the field. The new contexts allow for the creation of appropriate stratigraphic relationships among surrounding sediments and features.
Feature Groups are comprised of features whose architectural or landscape or spatial/Feature groups are sets of features whose spatial arrangements indicate they were part of a single structure (e.g. structural postholes, subfloor pits, hearth) or landscape element (e.g. postholes that comprise a fenceline). Feature Groups assigned by DAACS have a FG-prefix, which precedes the number (i.e. FG01 equals Feature Group 1).
|F01||Trench, builder’s||020, 028, 003|
|F02||Foundation, stone||041, 042, 043|
|F03||Interior wall, stone||027|
DAACS Seriation Method
DAACS staff aim to produce a seriation-based chronology for each slave-quarter site using the same methods (see Neiman, Galle, and Wheeler 2003 for technical details). Only assemblages from features or stratigraphic groups with more than five ceramic sherds are included in these ceramic-based seriations. Plowzone contexts do not contribute to a DAACS seriation-based chronology.
Due to the exceptionally small sample sizes at House 26, DAACS was unable to produce a seriation-based chronology for the site. However, the site-wide Mean Ceramic Date points to the occupation’s temporal placement in the 1790s. Two other measures that are less sensitive to excavation errors and taphonomic processes that might introduce a small amount of anomalously late material into an assemblage were used. They are TPQp90 and TPQp95. The TPQp95 of 1820 provides a robust estimate of the site’s TPQ based on the 95th percentile of the beginning manufacturing dates for all the artifacts comprising it. The TPQp90 of 1795 provides a more robust estimate of the site’s TPQ based on the 90th percentile of the beginning manufacturing dates for all the artifacts comprising it.
House 26 Harris Matrix
The Harris Matrix summarizes stratigraphic relationships among excavated contexts and groups of contexts that DAACS staff has identified as part of the same stratigraphic group. Stratigraphic groups and contexts are represented as boxes, while lines connecting them represent temporal relationships implied by the site’s stratification, as recorded by the site’s excavators (Harris 1979).
Stratigraphic groups, which represent multiple contexts, are identified on the diagram by their numeric designations (e.g. SG10) followed by the original excavator’s descriptions of them (e.g. “occupation zone”). There were no reliably identifiable stratigraphic groups for House 26, therefore the House 26 Harris Matrix contains only the relationships between individual contexts, which are identified by their individual context numbers (e.g. 280).
Boxes with color fill represent contexts and stratigraphic groups with ceramic assemblages large enough to be included in the DAACS seriation of the site (see Chronology). Their seriation-based phase assignments are denoted by different colors to facilitate evaluation of the agreement between the stratigraphic and seriation chronologies. Grey boxes represent contexts that were not included in the seriation because of small ceramic samples.
See the House 26 Chronology for stratigraphic and phase information.
This Harris Matrix is based on data on stratigraphic relationships recorded among contexts in the DAACS database. It was drawn with the ArchEd application. See http://www.ads.tuwien.ac.at/arched/index.html.
For a printable version, download the Harris Matrix [336.67 KB PDF].
PDF of composite excavator’s plan, compiled by DAACS from original field drawings, with excavation units and features labeled.
PDF of composite excavator’s plan, compiled by DAACS from original field drawings, with only features labeled.
PDF of composite excavator’s plan, compiled by DAACS from original field drawings, with only excavation units labeled.
PDF of New Montpelier slave village.
PDF of New Montpelier slave village and works.
PDF of New Montpelier slave village and works featuring landscape and architectural details as well as hillshading and contours.
PDF of New Montpelier village featuring village architectural details as well as hillshading and two foot contours based on Dr. Higman's detailed village survey.
CAD site plan in .dxf format.
CAD site plan in .dgn format.
CAD site plan of the New Montpelier slave village in .dxf format.
CAD site plan of the New Montpelier slave village in .dgn format.
CAD site plan of the New Montpelier slave village and works in .dxf format.
Harris, Edward C.
1979 Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy. Academic Press, London, England.
Higman, B. W.
1998 Montpelier, Jamaica: A Plantation Community in Slavery and Freedom, 1739-1912. University of the West Indies Press, Mona, Jamaica.
Neiman, Fraser D., Jillian E. Galle , and Derek Wheeler
2003 Chronological Inference and DAACS. Unpublished paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Providence, Rhode Island. On file at the Department of Archaeology, Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Charlottesville, Virginia.