Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why is Archaeology Necessary at Arcadia?

Historical documents such as census records, deed records, and newspaper reports reveal that slaves were the predominant source of labor at Arcadia.  Such records also show that the primary owners of Arcadia Mill, Joseph Forsyth and Ezekiel Simpson, increased the number of slaves they owned for over three decades.  This increase in slave property directly corresponds with the company’s expansion.  As the mill grew and the owners purchased more slaves, the associated community grew in size and social complexity.

Such records establish the presence of a large slave community at Arcadia.  However, historical documents providing specific descriptions of the community do not exist.  This lack of documentation prevents researchers from understanding many of the community’s hidden intricacies, which is where archaeology comes in.

The current archaeological investigation at Arcadia aims to answer a wide range of questions about the mill community, from ethnicity, status, and identity to spatial organization and architectural patterns.

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