An Archaeology of Black Markets: Local Ceramics and Economies in Eighteenth-century Jamaica

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 7/12/2013
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Florida
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"For the first time we are led to appreciate the nature of power relations generated between the enslaved and the slavers through clandestine ceramic exchange networking in eighteenth-century Jamaica."--E. Kofi Agorsah, Portland State University In eighteenth-century Jamaica, an informal, underground economy existed among enslaved laborers. Mark Hauser uses pottery fragments to examine their trade networks and to understand how enslaved and free Jamaicans created communities that transcended plantation boundaries. An Archaeology of Black Marketsutilizes both documentary and archaeological evidence to reveal how slaves practiced their own systematic forms of economic production, exchange, and consumption. Hauser compares the findings from a number of previously excavated sites and presents new analyses that reinterpret these collections in the context of island-wide trading networks. Trading allowed enslaved laborers to cross boundaries of slave life and enter into a black market of economic practices with pots in hand. By utilizing secret trails that connected plantations, sectarian churches, and street markets, the enslaved remained in contact, exchanged information, news, and gossip, and ultimately stoked the colony's 1831 rebellion. Hauser considers how uprooted peoples from Africa created new networks in Jamaica, and interjects into archaeological discussions the importance of informal economic practice among non-elite members of society.

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