|Occupation Dates:||19th century|
|Excavator(s):||Mark Hauser, Khadene Harris, Isaac Shearn|
|Dates excavated:||2015, 2016|
Locus 3 is thought to be the provision grounds. The provision ground was located in a highland area approximately 100m from the village,and is where enslaved people grew their most of their food. Contemporary records indicate that enslaved people living in Dominica were expected to, by and large, provision themselves, and grew a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and cereals. The provision ground at Morne Patate was excavated using shovel test pits, and primarily assessed through microbotanical data. Analyses reveal that there was a change in diets at Morne Patate following the introduction of sugar, particularly the increase in amount and types of cereals.
Although there is limited documentary evidence of provision grounds at Morne Patate, there are sources from elsewhere that describe this type of land use. According to one 18th century, and land for provision grounds was an asset because it allowed enslaved workers to grow their own food, decreasing the expenses of planters (Murphy and Hauser 2020:42). As Dominican plantations transitioned to growing sugar, planters expected enslaved people to grow their own food, and during this time period localized food production expanded, and worker’s attempted growing different crops in new locations (Hauser 2020b:24). According to another 18th century observer, enslaved laborers primarily provided for themselves and were allowed one day to work in gardens, fish, and market their produce (Wallman and Oas 2020:155). Following emancipation, formerly enslaved individuals continued to subsistence garden. Contemporary visitors noted that some of these crops included plantain, manioc, banana, yam, sweet potato, and a variety of other products. They also bred hogs, cattle, sheep, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and horses (Wallman and Oas:155).
Excavation history, procedures, and methods
Locus 3 at Morne Patate was studied through .4 x .4 meter shovel test pits (STPs). STPs were excavated utilizing natural stratigraphy, with each level assigned its own Field Specimen Number (FS). Each STP was excavated until reaching subsoil, obstruction by rocks, or until the integrity of excavation was compromised by depth at approximately 1 m. The provision ground was identified by STPs approximately 100 m from the eastern edge of the village, which indicated a large area (approximately 100 x 50 m) of prepared soil that was demarcated by large boulders as field boundaries. It did not yield a significant amount of ceramic samples, but those recovered included undiagnostic glass bottle pieces, fragments of Creamware, and Whiteware. These materials indicate that the soil was prepared in the era immediately following annexation, and suggested to archaeologists that it was the provision ground (Hauser 2020a).
The provision ground at Morne Patate provides insight into what enslaved individuals were growing and consuming outside of the coffee and sugar grown on the plantation. STPs from 2015 and 2016 did not turn up significant material culture, but did reveal that the provision ground was situated 100m from the village (Locus 2), and occupied a large amount of space (approximately 100 x 50m). Microbotanical data indicated that there were clear dietary differences before and after the introduction of sugar. Prior to introducing sugar, most of the botanical remains consisted of fruits and vegetables. After the introduction of sugar, the remains are more diverse and indicate a sharp increase in cereals including sorghum and maize, which were known to grow well in the region. The botanical evidence gives greater insight into the diets of enslaved individuals living at Morne Patate, particularly because enslaved people were largely expected to provision themselves.
Paleoethnobotanical remains help reveal what Morne Patate residents were consuming from the provision ground. Pre-sugar revolution, archaeological remains mostly consist of fruits and vegetables with some cereal grains. Indigenous fruits identified include guava, hackberry, and wild lime. Following the introduction of sugar (post-1770) there was a steep increase in the amount of domesticated cereals and other plant materials. Cereals included maize, sorghum, millet, and barley (Wallman and Oas 2020:164). Sorghum and maize were both common inclusions in provision grounds, and both had the potential for high yield in the region. Okra was another crop that was commonly grown in provision grounds and identified at Morne Patate.
Although there were not significant ceramic samples collected from the provision ground, archaeologists uncovered artifacts elsewhere at Morne Patate that indicate how enslaved people and free people living in the village would have prepared the food that they cooked. This includes local coarse earthenware, likely made in St. Lucia or Martinique, earthen pottery produced in southeastern France, and cast iron cookery. Additionally, they would have used griddles, which could have been used to make cassava bread, a food also consumed by indigenous peoples (Hauser 2020a).
Emily Schwalbe and Mark Hauser
The DAACS Project ID for Locus 3: Morne Patate Provision Grounds is “1251”. All contexts and artifact IDs begin with that prefix. A field specimen (FS) number assigned to individual contexts follows the Project ID for Contexts and Artifact IDs. For example, Unit N4552 E6517 Level 1 was assigned the FS number “5285” in the field; the DAACS context ID is “1251-5285.” Quadrat IDs were assigned based on the NE corner coordinates.
In DAACS, shovel test pits (STPs) are defined as excavation units that are not subdivided by level, such that each context contains materials from all of the levels (if applicable) excavated within the unit. The excavation strategy differed from this approach in that smaller units (0.4 x 0.4 m) were designated as STPs. Due to the differences in recording, the Unit Type for these smaller units is recorded as “Quadrat/Unit” not “STP.” The excavator’s STP designation can be found in the Excavator Description and Master Context Number fields.
The Village encompasses the following excavation areas at the Morne Patate plantation: Block E, “Stable,” Estate House and Kitchen; STPs with Easting coordinates equal to and less than 6554.
2 x 2 m units were laid out with a tape and a compass on a slope, while 0.4 x 0.4 m units were recorded with a transit.
All measurements are in meters.
All deposits were screened through quarter-inch mesh hardware cloth during all seasons. Samples from deposits of particular interest were floated. Stratigraphic groups do not correspond across excavation blocks/house areas; each excavation block is assigned separate stratigraphic groups, e.g., “BlockE_SG01.”
The Morne Patate Provision Grounds assemblages were cataloged using DAACS Lite Protocols. DAACS Lite cataloging protocols leverage two strategies to streamline cataloging: the reduction in the number of attribute fields recorded for each artifact and use of broader batching categories for some categories of artifacts. This was done for budgetary reasons, and it allowed all critical data fields to be recorded for the Morne Patate assemblage while also reducing cataloging time. The “full” DAACS data recording protocols, developed through consultation with various material culture experts, have been used for the majority of sites in the database and will continue to be used for most of the sites entered in the future. If you would like more information about the DAACS Lite protocols, please contact us.
Field records and artifact assemblages from Morne Patate Locus 3 were analyzed and cataloged by Elizabeth Bollwerk (Project Manager for DAACS). Leslie Cooper (DAACS Senior Archaeological Analyst) created the ArcGIS site maps, pdfs, and pngs using files provided by Mark Hauser. Lynsey Bates (DAACS Senior Archaeological Analyst) produced the chronology.
National Science Foundation, Archaeology Program (BCS 1419672, BCS 0948578), the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (Gr 8413), and Northwestern University’s Faculty Research Grant. Material support came from Island Heritage Foundation for logistical support Dominica and Lands and Survey Division of the Ministry of Housing provided important geospatial information. Permission for research was granted through the Dominica’s Ministry of Education.
No archaeological features were identified or excavated at the Morne Patate Locus 3.
Morne Patate Locus 3 Chronology
A total of ten ceramic sherds recovered from small test units (.4 x .4 meter) excavated stratigraphically. This dispersal complicates creation of a seriation-based chronology for the site. Instead, we provide site-wide estimates of occupation.
The table below includes the site-wide Mean Ceramic Date and the BLUE MCD, which gives less influence to ceramic types with long manufacturing spans, point to the occupation’s temporal placement the third quarter of the eighteenth century. It also provides three TPQ estimates. The first TPQ estimate is the usual one – the maximum beginning manufacturing date among all the ware-types in the assemblage. The second estimate — TPQp90 — is the 90th percentile of the beginning manufacturing dates among all the sherds in the assemblage, based on their ware-types. The TPQp95 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. These last two TPQ estimates are more robust against excavation errors and taphonomic processes that might have introduced a few anomalously late sherds into an assemblage.
Mean Ceramic Date and TPQs
Morne Patate Locus 3 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).
There is currently no Harris Matrix for the Morne Patate Locus 3: Provision Grounds, since the excavations only consisted of shovel-test-pits. A Harris Matrix will be generated as units with recorded stratigraphic relationships are excavated.
PDF of Morne Patate Locus 3 site plan with excavated units labeled, compiled by DAACS using maps provided by Mark Hauser, Principal Investigator. Due to scale, user must zoom in to see unit labels.
Morne Patate Locus 3 Site Map Shapefiles. Download as ZIP files. Compiled by DAACS using maps and GIS data provided by Mark Hauser, Principal Investigator.
Bates, Lynsey , Jillian E. Galle , and Khadene K. Harris
2017 Testing Hypotheses of Carved Disc Usage: A Comparative Analysis of the Assemblage from Morne Patate, Dominica Presented at the 2017 Meeting of The International Association of Caribbean Archaeology. St. Croix, USVI.
Bates, Lynsey , Jillian E. Galle , and Fraser D. Neiman
2020 Building an Archaeological Chronology for Morne Patate, Building an Archaeological Chronology for Morne Patate In Archaeology in Dominica: Everyday Ecologies and Economics at Morne Patate. Eds. Mark W. Hauser and Diane Wallman. 64-88.
Galle, Jillian E., and Lynsey Bates
2017 “Jouer sur du velours”: Archaeological Evidence of Gaming on Sites of Slavery in the Caribbean and United States Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology,
Harris, Khadene K.
2020 Morne Patate House Yards, 1750-1900: An Overview, Morne Patate House Yards, 1750-1900: An Overview In Archaeology in Dominica: Everyday Ecologies and Economics at Morne Patate. Eds. Mark W. Hauser and Diane Wallman. 88-111.
Hauser, Mark W.
2020a Archaeological Survey of Colonial Dominica., Archaeological Survey of Colonial Dominica. Report on file at The Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University: Evanston, IL.
Hauser, Mark W., and Dianne Wallman
2020 Archaeology in Dominica: Everyday Ecologies and Economics at Morne Patate, Archaeology in Dominica: Everyday Ecologies and Economics at Morne Patate University of Florida Press: Gainesville, FL.
Hauser, Mark W.
2020 Everyday Economies and Ecologies of Plantation Life, Everyday Economies and Ecologies of Plantation Life In Archaeology in Dominica: Everyday Ecologies and Economics at Morne Patate. Eds. Mark W. Hauser and Diane Wallman. 1-31.
Hauser, Mark W.
2021 Mapping Water on Dominica: Environment and Enslavement under Colonialism Culture, Place and Nature University of Washington Press, Seattle.
Murphy, Tessa , and Mark W. Hauser
2020 Dominica as an Evolving Landscape: Evidence of Changing Social, Political, and Economic Organization in the Eighteenth Century, Dominica as an Evolving Landscape: Evidence of Changing Social, Political, and Economic Organization in the Eighteenth Century In Archaeology in Dominica: Everyday Ecologies and Economics at Morne Patate. Eds. Mark W. Hauser and Diane Wallman. 31-48.
Wallman, Dianne , and Sarah Oas
2020 The Environmental Archaeology of Subsistence and the Socioecological Landscape at Morne Patate, The Environmental Archaeology of Subsistence and the Socioecological Landscape at Morne Patate In Archaeology in Dominica: Everyday Ecologies and Economics at Morne Patate. Eds. Mark W. Hauser and Diane Wallman. 153-168.