2 Materializing Memory and Building Community: Contemporary Landscape Archaeology of a Nineteenth-Century Bahamian Plantation

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7 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Millars Plantation on Eleuthera, Bahamas was first established in 1803 as a cotton plantation and remained in operation through the 1830s. After emancipation, the formerly enslaved community continued to live on and work the plantation acreage and surrounding areas, until 1871 when Ann Millar formally left the 2000 acre-property to the descendants of her former slaves and servants. That descendant community still upholds their right to this land today, despite a series of legal challenges by Bahamian and foreign investors who seek to develop new tourism-based economies in the area. In the process of documenting the historical landscape of the Millars Plantation through oral histories, ethnographic interviews, and landscape survey, the research revealed ways that residents today have materialized memory—piecing together object, story, and space—on a living landscape that has too often been framed as empty or relegated to the past. This chapter investigates the ways in which memory becomes rooted in the materiality of the South Eleuthera landscape. When read side-by-side, the archaeological and contemporary social stratigraphy of South Eleuthera illustrate this historical landscape's ongoing site formation and the ways in which community members use the memoryscape as a tool for community building and local advocacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-41
Number of pages18
JournalArcheological Papers of the American Anthropological Association
Volume33
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant (Grant No. 9024) and Engaged Anthropology Grant (Gr. EAG-140), the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (Grant No. 1451512), and additional grants from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Anthropology. I am enormously grateful for the partnership, collaboration and friendship of my research partners in Eleuthera, including those at the Bannerman Town, Millars and John Mil-lars Association, the One Eleuthera Foundation, and the Wemyss Bight Community Library. Thanks go to Whitney Battle-Baptiste and Elizabeth Chilton for introducing me to Eleuthera.

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant (Grant No. 9024) and Engaged Anthropology Grant (Gr. EAG-140), the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (Grant No. 1451512), and additional grants from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Anthropology. I am enormously grateful for the partnership, collaboration and friendship of my research partners in Eleuthera, including those at the Bannerman Town, Millars and John Millars Association, the One Eleuthera Foundation, and the Wemyss Bight Community Library. Thanks go to Whitney Battle-Baptiste and Elizabeth Chilton for introducing me to Eleuthera.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the American Anthropological Association.

Keywords

  • Bahamas
  • collective memory
  • community-based archaeology
  • historical archaeology
  • landscape archaeology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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