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Kenneth L. Brown, Ph.D.

Excavation methods used at the Jordan Plantation

From Ken Brown and Doreen Cooper, 1990, "Structural Continuity in an African-American Slave and Tenant Community".(4).

Ken supervising students at the site

"The excavations into the slave and tenant farmer community at the Jordan Plantation have been developed both to excavate intensively a number of the individual cabins and to test systematically the area around the quarters. In both sampling strategies, the standard excavation unit was 5 x 5 feet in size. All units excavated at the quarters, however, began at this size, but usually were enlarged. That is, once a unit in the quarters had been excavated to the top of the brick layer that immediately overlaid the cabin deposits, each unit was segmented into 25 1-x-1-ft. sub-units. Further, once this level was reached – generally at a depth of 0.3 to 0.5 ft. below the surface, a system of both arbitrary and "natural" levels was employed in the excavation of the cabin deposits. The basic arbitrary level depth was 0.1 ft, unless a soil change was noted. Within each of these 0.1 ft levels, however, artifacts were generally pedestaled until all of the sub-units of the level were excavated. This procedure has permitted the relatively rapid excavation of the deposits, while still providing extensive point plotting of the artifacts. This methodology has proven to be extremely important, especially within the "abandonment zone". Through this methodology, areas of differential use of cabin floor space can be identified, and the original internal cabin walls can be defined. The external walls were made of brick, but those on the inside were made of a more perishable material, probably wood. Thus, the walls were defined on the basis of "shadows" in the artifact distribution."

Doreen excavating under a house in Alaska


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Description of Site
Continuity
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African Retentions and Symbolism
Cabins

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