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An Archaeology of Black Markets: Local Ceramics and Economies in Eighteenth-Century Jamaica (Florida Museum of Natural History: Ripley P. Bullen Series) [Hardcover]

Mark W. Hauser

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Book Description

August 31, 2008 081303261X 978-0813032610 1st
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 Markets" utilizes 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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

“An excellent example of applying petrographic and chemical analysis to coarse earthenwares of the African Diaspora in order to examine the social networks created by enslaved laborers on Jamaica within the larger colonial and capitalist systems. . . . A wonderful contribution to Caribbean historical archaeology.”—H-Net Reviews


“Uses pottery fragments and other data to examine an informal, underground economy that existed among slaves, island-wide.”—Chronicle Review


“This is a convincing study, and the findings serve as a strong basis for the consideration of the role of the Sunday markets in African Jamaican life of the eighteenth century. . . . Hauser is a master in his field, and he writes extremely well.”—Journal of Caribbean Archaeology


“Eloquently weaves together historical, ethnographic, and archaeological evidence to illustrate the complexities of the internal markets, which suggest that the enslaved may have been able to use the social and economic networks they created in order to gain some relief or protection from the power of the colonial regime.”—Winterthur Portfolio


“In the best historical archaeology tradition, this is a corrective history that refutes Caribbean stereotypes and maps the histories of ignored peoples by examining the most seemingly mundane everyday material culture.” —Paul Mullins, Indiana University–Purdue University


About the Author

Mark W. Hauser is assistant professor of anthropology at Northwestern University.


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