Current Institutional Affiliation
Catholic University of America

Award Information

American Slavery’s Legacy across Space and Time: Small Grants Program 2021
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Catholic University of America
Facilitating Community Engagement in the Archaeology of Jesuit Plantations in Maryland

This project seeks to make archaeological evidence from former Jesuit plantations in Maryland accessible to members of the GU 272 descendant community through the development of an interactive website and educational materials. Archaeological projects provide a unique opportunity to address historical silences by examining material evidence of enslaved lives on these plantations. The goal of this project is to provide GU 272 descendants with multiple ways to connect with their ancestors, their family histories, and each other through the medium of archaeology and place. This goal will be accomplished in three specific ways. First, the project will develop a website that not only presents archaeological evidence through images, maps, and text, but allows descendants to share their own interpretations of that evidence through comments. Second, it will conduct 3D scanning of archaeological artifacts, which will be made available through the website and a SketchFab page. Third, it will develop archaeology lesson plans for teaching about enslavement through the lens of the GU 272 and their life at plantations such as St. Inigoes and Newtown, which incorporate 3D scanned/printed artifacts. Moreover, places and material objects, made accessible as virtual resources, provide members of the geographically dispersed GU 272 descendant community with an opportunity to connect with resources that are not physically accessible. We envision this website as an archaeological companion to the Georgetown Slavery Archive. To paraphrase the words of one descendant, doing publicly- oriented research about family histories is part of a process of intergenerational healing. Telling stories about ancestors is a way of showing deep gratitude for their perseverance through enslavement.