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Historical Archaeology of the Delaware Valley, 1600-1850

Richard Veit

Publication Year: 2014

The Delaware Valley is a distinct region situated within the Middle Atlantic states, encompassing portions of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. With its cultural epicenter of Philadelphia, its surrounding bays and ports within Maryland and Delaware, and its conglomerate population of European settlers, Native Americans, and enslaved Africans, the Delaware Valley was one of the great cultural hearths of early America. The region felt the full brunt of the American Revolution, briefly served as the national capital in the post-Revolutionary period, and sheltered burgeoning industries amidst the growing pains of a young nation. Yet, despite these distinctions, the Delaware Valley has received less scholarly treatment than its colonial equals in New England and the Chesapeake region.
    In Historical Archaeology of the Delaware Valley, 1600–1850, Richard Veit and David Orr bring together fifteen essays that represent the wide range of cultures, experiences, and industries that make this region distinctly American in its diversity. From historic-period American Indians living in a rapidly changing world to an archaeological portrait of Benjamin Franklin, from an eighteenth-century shipwreck to the archaeology of Quakerism, this volume highlights the vast array of research being conducted throughout the region. Many of these sites discussed are the locations of ongoing excavations, and archaeologists and historians alike continue to debate the region’s multifaceted identity.
    The archaeological stories found within Historical Archeology of the Delaware Valley, 1600–1850 reflect the amalgamated heritage that many American regions experienced, though the Delaware Valley certainly exemplifies a richer experience than most: it even boasts the palatial home of a king (Joseph Bonaparte, elder brother of Napoleon and former King of Naples and Spain). This work, thoroughly based on careful archaeological examination, tells the stories of earlier generations in the Delaware Valley and makes the case that New England and the Chesapeake are not the only cultural centers of colonial America.

Published by: The University of Tennessee Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. xi-xii

We are indebted to a number of people and organizations for their assistance during the preparation of this book. We particularly appreciate the assistance of Lu Ann De Cunzo and an anonymous reviewer who helped us refine our arguments and better organize the volume. The patience and guidance of editor Thomas Wells was invaluable as we moved this volume toward publication. Michelle Hughes prepared the...

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Richard Veit, David Orr

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pp. xiii-xxvi

Historical Archaeology of the Delaware Valley, 1600–1850 is meant to be a selective reader on the archaeology of one of colonial America’s great cultural hearths. Historical archaeologists have been studying sites in the Delaware Valley for over a century (see Abbott 1892, 1894; Mercer 1897; Cadzow 1936; Allen 1991), and several excellent books have been published on the historical archaeology of the region’s...

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1. American Indian Archaeology of the Historic Period in the Delaware Valley

R. Michael Stewart

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pp. 1-48

It is fitting that a discussion of American Indians be included in a volume focused on the historic archaeology of the Delaware Valley, or any region in the Americas. European explorers, traders, and waves of colonists did not enter an empty world, but one populated and shaped by a variety of Native cultures with deep and complex histories. The fullest picture of the past will only emerge when we integrate...

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2. Charles Conrad Abbott’s Archaeological Investigations at a Seventeenth-Century Fur Trader’s House on Burlington Island, New Jersey

Carolyn Dillian, Charles Bello, Richard Veit, Sean McHugh

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pp. 49-74

Charles Conrad Abbott was an innovative man. He was an archaeologist who worked in New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the late nineteenth century and is most well known for his theories about the origins of Native Americans (Abbott 1872a, 1872b, 1873, 1876, 1881, 1892a, 1907, 1912; Hinsley 1985, 2003; Meltzer 2003, 2005). Abbott proposed an independent evolution of modern...

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3. Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania: Toward the Preservation of a Significant Historical Landscape

Joseph R. Blondino

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pp. 75-92

Known as the “Cornerstone of Pennsylvania,” the borough of Marcus Hook has a long and fascinating history. Beginning with the arrival of the first colonists in the mid-seventeenth century and continuing through the early twentieth century, “the Hook” was one of the most economically and strategically important locations in the lower Delaware Valley—its importance in some ways rivaling even that of Philadelphia...

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4. Unearthing Wistarburgh: America’s First Successful Glasshouse

Damon Tvaryanas, William B. Liebeknecht

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pp. 93-124

On September 9, 1738, two vessels made their way with the tide slowly up the Delaware River. Having dropped their sheets, the Glasgow and the Two Sisters tied up at Philadelphia’s wharves and completed a long transatlantic crossing. Both vessels had last touched ground at the small port of Clowes in southeastern England and had sailed in company, weathering the broad Atlantic until they passed between Capes...

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5. Transculturation and Ethnogenesis: Material Culture from an Eighteenth-Century Pennsylvania German Farmstead/Distillery

Patricia E. Gibble

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pp. 125-150

Culture contact or interaction between diverse ethnic groups, whether forced by conquest or instigated by people themselves, results in a dynamic interplay of negotiation, acceptance, and/or resistance to another’s cultural practices. Individuals as well as groups do not wholly accept cultural domination and assimilation but exercise human agency in choosing what they will absorb, what aspects of culture they will...

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6. The Archaeology of Food in Colonial Pennsylvania: Historical Zooarchaeological Exploration of Foodways on the Stenton Plantation

Teagan Schweitzer

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pp. 151-170

This chapter relies on zooarchaeological and documentary research to investigate the foodways of the households living on the Stenton plantation, located five miles outside of Philadelphia, in the mid-eighteenth century. Discussions of food center around the meat, fowl, fish, shellfish, and even reptiles that made up the food landscape for the Logan families who lived at Stenton during this period. Information...

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7. The Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck, An Eighteenth-Century British Commercial Vessel in the Lower Delaware Bay: A Framework for Interpretation

Daniel R. Griffith, Charles Fithian

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pp. 171-184

The Roosevelt Inlet shipwreck is the site of a wooden-hulled, commercial sailing ship lost in the lower Delaware Bay during the third quarter of the eighteenth century (figure 7.1). In the fall of 2004, a beach replenishment project struck a portion of an uncharted shipwreck. The dredge operations pumped sand and artifacts onto a nearby beach. The artifacts were reported to archaeologists working for the State of...

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8. The Archaeology of Quakerism in Philadelphia and Beyond: Identity, Conformity, and Context

John M. Chenoweth

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pp. 185-204

This volume is focused on the Delaware Valley and its archaeology, but I am going to take this region as my starting point and—as my title suggests—move beyond it to tackle larger issues with particular relevance to the Philadelphia area. While Dutch and Swedish settlers were the first non-Natives in the Delaware Valley, the Quaker-inspired settlement of Philadelphia was what made it a colonial-era hot...

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9. The Baker and the Quaker: Ongoing Research from the National Constitution Center Site

William Hoffman, Deborah Miller

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pp. 205-226

Since its creation, Independence National Historical Park has served as a patriotic bastion, a place where connections to our national origin can be experienced and explored. These sentiments are especially focused in the three blocks north of Independence Square where the potent symbols of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are in prominent view. It is from this vantage point that a present-day visitor can...

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10. Rediscovering Franklin: The Archaeology of Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia

Patrice L. Jeppson

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pp. 227-248

Something unusual happened in the spring of 1953 in the Old City section of Philadelphia (figure 10.1). Men wielding shovels and pick axes tore up a stretch of sidewalk laying adjacent to a vacant lot on one of the neighborhood’s cobblestone streets. Their work was part of an unusual archaeological experiment the objective of which was seeking the ruins of Benjamin Franklin’s Philadelphia...

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11. The Early Poor in Philadelphia: A Preliminary Report on the Philadelphia City Almshouse Privy Excavation

Mara Kaktins, Sharon Allitt

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pp. 249-272

This paper presents preliminary findings from the excavation of a privy associated with the first Philadelphia City Almshouse, in operation from 1732–1767. Excavations conducted by Temple University students recovered a wealth of artifacts relating to diet, task work, care of the infirm, and even recreation at the almshouse, providing information on colonial treatment of the poor and the daily lives of some...

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12. The Root of the Matter: Searching for William Hamilton’s Greenhouse at The Woodlands Estate, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Sarah Chesney

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pp. 273-296

One of the most enduring images of Colonial and early Federal America is that of the elite country plantation consisting of a picturesque mansion house surrounded by landscaped grounds, formal gardens, and carefully placed outbuildings. Modeled after English country estates, these early American rural retreats were carefully planned by their owners to showcase not just their wealth but their complete control over the...

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13. “He Will Be a Bourgeois American and Spend His Fortune in Making Gardens”: An Archaeological Examination of Joseph Bonaparte’s Point Breeze Estate

Richard Veit, Michael J. Gall

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pp. 297-322

Joseph Bonaparte, the elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte and former King of Naples and Spain, fled from Europe following Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo and sought refuge in America. Despite an attempt to conceal his true identity, Joseph was soon recognized and requested asylum in the United States. With some misgivings, President James Madison allowed him to remain in the country. Joseph would reside...

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14. Historical Archaeology in Trenton: A Thirty-Year Retrospective

Richard W. Hunter, Ian Burrow

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pp. 323-374

Historically and geographically, Trenton, New Jersey, is a stereotypical Euro-American East Coast port city. Positioned at “the falls of the Delaware,” at the head of navigation and head of tide, the settlement boasts more than three centuries of absorbing history, traces of which survive in abundance within and beneath the city’s current urban landscape. A combination of circumstances has resulted in Trenton...

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15. It Takes a Village: Archaeology at Timbuctoo, Burlington County, New Jersey

Christopher P. Barton

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pp. 375-392

In recent years, scholars have gained a greater understanding of the heterogeneity of the African American historical experience through an explosion of archaeological investigation and documentary research. Though most research has been and continues to focus on sites associated with southeastern slavery, the subfield has shifted its gaze towards examining topics outside of slavery, ranging from northern antebellum...

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pp. 393-398

Sharon Allitt is a private consultant. She specializes in faunal analysis and human skeletal anatomy. She intermittently teaches anthropology and anatomy courses as an adjunct professor. Her interests include stable isotope research, how the shift from hunting and gathering to cultivation impacted exploitation of local wildlife and the relationship between diet and disease. She received her doctoral degree in 2011 from...


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pp. 399-414

E-ISBN-13: 9781621900283
E-ISBN-10: 1621900282
Print-ISBN-13: 9781572339972
Print-ISBN-10: 1572339977

Page Count: 440
Illustrations: 68 photos, 8 tables
Publication Year: 2014

Edition: 1