“Brings together scholars who are investigating the colonial project on the heretofore overlooked island of Dominica. With its unique history as a Kalinago reserve, and then as a nominally French, then British colony, Dominica is deserving of this treatment as we seek to better understand the range of experiences in the colonial project of the last 300 years.”—Kenneth G. Kelly, coeditor of French Colonial Archaeology in the Southeast and Caribbean
“This volume, among the first to examine a Caribbean plantation through the lens of political ecology, is poised to reframe the approaches archaeologists take to examining the connected histories of capitalist landscapes, their inhabitants, and broader ecological relationships.”—Krysta Ryzewski, coauthor of An Archaeological History of Montserrat, West Indies
Archaeology in Dominica: Everyday Ecologies and Economies at Morne Patate examines the everyday lives of enslaved and free workers at Morne Patate, an eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Caribbean plantation that produced sugar, coffee, and provisions. Focusing on household archaeology, this volume helps document the underrepresented history of slavery and colonialism on the edge of the British Empire.
Contributors discuss how enslaved and free people were entangled in shifting economic and ecological systems during the plantation’s 200-year history, most notably the introduction of sugarcane as an export commodity. Analyzing historical records, the landscape geography of the plantation, and material remains from the residences of laborers, the authors synthesize extensive data from this site and compare it to that of other excavations across the Eastern Caribbean. Using historical archaeology to investigate the political ecology of Morne Patate opens up a deeper understanding of the environmental legacies of colonial empires, as well as the long-term impacts of plantation agriculture on the Caribbean region and its people.
The excavations at Morne Patate and other Caribbean plantations were recently featured in Science.
Mark W. Hauser, associate professor of anthropology at Northwestern University, is the author of An Archaeology of Black Markets: Local Ceramics and Economies in Eighteenth-Century Jamaica. Diane Wallman is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of South Florida.