My friend Jon Marcoux is currently leading an archaeological field school in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Yesterday he did his first-ever blog post over at the Lord Ashley Site blog, and a fine post it was.
Amongst the topics discussed in his post are the ceramic sherds shown below. While the place of manufacture is unclear, the style is typical of ceramics found 300+ miles to the northwest of the Lowcountry. It has long been known that the mid- to late 17th century was a time of massive population movement in the Southeast, but finds like this one help researchers ask the kind of questions necessary to fill in the details.
In her June 12th post, Katherine Pemberton gave us a look at the sherd uncovered at the Lord Ashley Site which is shown below. The provenience of this sherd is much clearer. It is a piece of Barbadian redware.* It’s presence is not altogether a surprise given the role of Barbadian planters in the establishment of the Carolina Colony.†
A common critique of historical archaeology is that it costs time, money, and sweat in the process of learning what we already know. But as someone who once had a job which had me regularly hanging around my hometown cop shop, I have a real respect for forensic evidence. Sometimes it leads you in directions you wouldn’t have gone otherwise.
*See Handler, Jerome S., and Frederick W. Lange. Plantation slavery in Barbados: an archaeological and historical investigation. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978.
†See Bull, Kinloch. “Barbadian settlers in early Carolina: historiographical notes.” The South Carolina Historical Magazine 96, no. 4 (October 1995): 329–39. doi:10.2307/27570122.