|Location:||Montpelier, St. James Parish, Jamaica|
|Occupation Dates:||Last-quarter 18th through 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 37 was located on top of the rise overlooking the village and the great house, elevated about 40 feet above House 14. The site was on the southwestern margin of the zone of identifiable stone foundations, distant from the central pathway, and associated with the remains of stone enclosures and cut-stone graves. It was chosen for excavation partly because of its relatively isolated location and also because of its relatively complete state before excavation. When survey and excavation commenced in 1976, the house was easily identified by its substantial mound of rubble, with a tree growing through the middle, and intact sections of stone wall rising to 12 inches above the surface. Excavation continued into 1978, and the area of excavation was extended beyond the house foundations in some directions in order to search for enclosing walls and other features. House 37 was shown to have unusual features, shared in part with House 24. Occupation extended from the final decades of slavery and beyond abolition down to about 1850.
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 37 had a complete foundation but it is not certain that it is one of those described in the list of 1825. The unusual architectural features that it possessed may point to earlier or later construction. House 37 did not conform to the dimensions found for Houses 14 and 26, nor did it follow pattern of parallel lines associated with the layout of the houses surrounding Houses 14 and 26. Thus it is unlikely to have been one of the houses built in 1819 to shelter the enslaved people moved from Shettlewood. This is an important point, because it suggests that House 37 was less likely than Houses 14 and 26 to have been the product of design and construction closely controlled by the planter.
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 37 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 37. 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
At the site of House 37, surface surveys and excavation commenced in 1976 and continued to 1978, 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. A separate survey was made of the mound covering the site of House 37, to take its elevations, before excavation was commenced.
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 used throughout most of House 37, using a 1/8 inch screen, but no flotation. 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.
The pile of rubble contained many air spaces near its surface, showing that the stones belonged to the collapsed walls of the house. Removal of the superficial rubble exposed a more or less continuous stone foundation with external dimensions of roughly 22 by 19 feet, nearer to a square than a true rectangle, but not quite regular and with a protrusion to the north. The foundation varied in width from 12 inches in the western wall to 24 inches in the southern, with an even heavier section of 36 inches in the northern protrusion. Most of the stone was limestone, including massive blocks packed with smaller stones and cemented with lime mortar. Some of the blocks were worked or smoothed into regular shapes and a few of them had inscribed letters or numbers in their sides. Bricks were also common in some sections of the foundation. Most of these were imported, apparently from England, and probably were first used as firebricks in the sugar factory.
No evidence was found of a construction trench but the massive structure of the foundations suggests strongly that House 37 had stone walls all the way up to the eaves. The roof was probably shingled, as suggested by the large quantities of nails found in a fairly even scatter. Slate was excavated but some of it had mortar attached and it seems more likely to have been part of the walls than the roof.
One of the unusual features of House 37, shared with House 24, was its plastered floor. Whereas Houses 14 and 26 had floors of packed marl and earth, House 37 had a smooth plastered floor throughout, the plaster 1.25 to 1.50 inches thick and spread over a bed of packed marl. The plaster was a slaty gray colour unlike the mortar used in the walls.
Although House 37 was slightly smaller than Houses 14 and 26, it was more certainly divided into three rooms. The internal divisions in House 37 were of solid masonry rather than any lightweight timber alternative. These internal walls were narrower than the external walls, often less than 12 inches thick, and contained large proportions of cut-stone and brick. The plaster of the floor continued up all of the walls in a smooth curve. The internal walls were keyed into the external walls, demonstrating that they were built as part of the initial structure and part of a clear plan.
Another unusual feature of House 37, again shared with House 24, was the presence of raised masonry platforms in the ends of two of the rooms. These rose about 18 inches above the plaster floor and projected into the rooms near to 3 feet. The front of the platform was keyed and mortared into the adjacent walls, and contained some cut stones. The tops of the platforms were made of smoothed plaster just like that of the floor.
House 37 presented clear evidence of doorways. One entrance, about 2 feet wide, was located in the middle of the western side of the house. Another doorway, of the same width, was found near the centre of the eastern wall. There was also internal access from the southeastern to the northeastern room. A key and a hinge found in House 37 suggests the presence of at least one swinging door with a lock. It is unlikely that the house had windows of glass, at least during the period of slavery.
Summary of research and analysis
The location, orientation and dimensions of House 37 suggest that it was built independently, and that it did not belong to the series of houses laid out in parallel lines and constructed by the planters in 1819. The Mean Ceramic Date is 1818 and the Binford Pipe-stem Formula gives an average of 1775. The latter is average for the village but the Mean Ceramic Date is ten years earlier than the average, suggesting that House 37 preceded the planter-built houses rather than coming at the very end of the period of slavery. It may therefore be contended that House 37 was not only the product of construction work performed by the enslaved masons and carpenters of New Montpelier but was also a creation of the design of the enslaved. The raised platforms found in House 37 are strongly suggestive of the sleeping platforms found in the vernacular architecture of regions of West Africa from whence the people of Montpelier were taken.
Interpretation of the occupations of the persons occupying House 37 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 37 yielded two hoe heads, immediately against the external walls of the house; these were all made of wrought iron and had shapes typical of the eighteenth century. Two bills (shorter, broader versions of the machete) and one cutlass blade were also found at House 37, more than at the other excavated sites. There was also an unusual sickle blade, a file, a broad iron spade blade, suggesting a family group largely employed in agricultural field labour.
Of the domestic life that was lived within the walls of House 37, little can be established, with items of furniture and methods of lighting hard to identify. If the interpretation is correct, beds were not needed in House 37 because they were replaced by the built-in sleeping platforms.
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, though House 37 had the lowest ratio of iron pot sherds in its artifact assemblage. It also yielded one metal spoon and an eating fork. 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 and bamboo, were in common use, and these items were not recovered archaeologically.
Most of the many ceramics found at House 37 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, House 37 had the largest total number of sherds (1,103) but not the largest number of unique vessels, suggesting an above average rate of breakage. The MVC showed House 37 to have 76 unique vessels, fewer than House 26 (84 vessels) but substantially more than House 14 (50 vessels). House 37 had the largest representation of locally made ceramics or yabbas but they still made up only 2.6 percent of the total. In terms of shape and type, the vessels of House 37 included large proportions of bowls (36.8 percent) and plates (36.8 percent), and it also had above average proportions of jugs, and a teapot. House 37 had a relatively high ratio of plates to bowls, matching exactly the ratio at House 14. Compared to the other house sites, House 37 was characterized by relatively high proportions of pearlware (39.5 percent) and, to a lesser extent, creamware (17.1 percent). Both the creamware and the pearlware of House 37 were however more often plain or shell-edged than at House 26. House 37 also yielded a teapot, with a molded handle and a knobbed lid.
Direct evidence of the food consumed at House 37 is confined to animal sources and the data obtained from the vertebrate faunal analysis carried out by Elizabeth J. Reitz. House 37 yielded an MNI or 9, about average for the village overall. The most common species were unidentified rodents (2) and pig (2), with individual representatives of cow, chicken and sheep/goat. Contemporary descriptive accounts refer to the use of all these as potential food but whether the individuals found in House 37 were actually eaten is less certain as is the question which parts were used as human food. House 37 was the only excavated site in which there was no evidence of sawing of the bones, though there were indications of cutting. Fish, distributed in the largest quantities in pickled and salted form to the enslaved people of New Montpelier, left little trace. House 37 was also unusual in yielding a freshwater turtle. These animals could be caught in the nearby Great River.
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 37 yielded three thimbles, a complete pair of scissors and three separated blades, but no needles. Outside the documentary record specific to Montpelier, House 37 yielded 13 buttons, a relatively small number, along with three belt buckles. Surprisingly, House 37 yielded just one bead. Analysis by Karlis Karklins argues that the evidence from the beads suggests overall that Houses 14, 24 and 26 were occupied at about the same time, and that House 37 does not conflict with this interpretation since its single bead had a counterpart in House 26.
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 37 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 37 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, and it seems most likely that they were field labourers. The existence of the sleeping platforms does however suggest the possibility that the people who built and lived in House 37 were able to recreate a design brought with them from Africa.
Australian National University
Things you need to know about House 37 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 “W300N100” 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 37 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 here 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”, “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 37 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 37, 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 eighty-one ceramics and four buttons had no contexts but could be identified as House 37 therefore they were cataloged into the “UNPROV”(unprovenienced) context for House 37. Researchers doing spatial analyses should be aware that 15.9% of the ceramics and 40% of the buttons were unprovenienced at House 37 and that some contexts do not contain all of the ceramics in the finds list.
Using the ceramic counts provided by Higman’s finds list, it is estimated that 33 ceramic sherds from House 37 were missing from the collection. This means that approximately 3% of the ceramics excavated from House 37 were missing from the collections at U.W.I. These sherds may still be at the JNHT.
|House 37||Total Cataloged Artifacts||Unprovenienced Cataloged Artifacts (percentage of artifact class that is unprov) ¹||Missing Artifacts (Percentage of Artifacts Missing)²|
|Ceramics||1136||181 (15.9%)||33 (3%)|
|All Other Artifacts||6747||0 (0%)||N/A|
|Tobacco Pipes||126||0 (0%)||N/A|
|Total Artifacts||10,987||185 (1.6%)||N/A|
|Contexts (Field Records)||158||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 37 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 “D270,” “D271,” “D272,” “D273,” “D274,” “D275,” and “D276” which are associated with House 37 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 sets of features whose spatial arrangements indicate they were part of a single structure (e.g. structural postholes, subfloor pits, and 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).
|F02||Rubble Scatter||201, 94, 123, 126, 91, 92, 93, 170, 152, 154, 145, 131|
|F05||Raised Platform||228, D273, 226, 227, 234, 235, 236, 237|
|F06||Raised Platform||242, 243, D274, 244, 245|
|F07||Interior wall, stone||D275, 155, 233|
|F08||Interior wall, stone||D276|
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 37, 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 first decade of the 1800s. 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 37 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 37, therefore the House 37 Harris Matrix contains only the relationships between individual contexts, which are identified by their individual context numbers (e.g. 96).
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 37 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 [971.09 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.
Galle, Jillian E.
2007a Conspicuous consumption and gendered social strategies among slaves in 18th-century Jamaica and Virginia. Paper presented in the session: Approaching Darwin’s Bicentennial. The State of the Art in Evolutionary Archaeology at the Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Austin, Texas.
Galle, Jillian E.
2007b Consumption and gendered social strategies among slaves in Jamaica and the Chesapeake: an archaeological perspective. Paper presented at the World Archaeological Congress Intersession, Kingston, Jamaica, May 2007.
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.
Higman, B. W.
1973 Household Structure and Fertility on Jamaican Slave Plantations: A Nineteenth-Century Example., Population Studies (27) 527-50 In Population Studies (27) 527-50.
Higman, B. W.
2003 The Letterbooks of Isaac Jackson, Jamaican Planting Attorney, 1839-1843., Journal of Caribbean History (37) 317-29. In Journal of Caribbean History (37) 317-29.
Higman, B. W.
2005 Plantation Jamaica, 1750-1850: Capital and Control in a Colonial Economy. University of the West Indies Press, Mona, Jamaica.
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