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Diasporan Exiles in the Great Dismal Swamp, 1630–1860


  • Daniel O. Sayers


The Great Dismal Swamp Landscape Study is an ongoing ethnohistorical archaeology project designed to bring a landscape and anthropological perspective to bear on the circa-1630 1860 occupation of the Dismal Swamp. Thousands of African Americans, as maroons and enslaved laborers, permanently dwelled in the swamp, as did untold numbers of Native Americans throughout this period. That these groups interacted in socially and economically significant ways is attested to in the record, but very little is ultimately known about how their political economic systems emerged and transformed. This project represents the first intensive effort in bringing the tools of historiography, archaeology, and anthropology to an analysis of the Great Dismal Swamp as a diasporan and exilic landscape.

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