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Cover for Uncommon Ground

Uncommon Ground

Archaeology and Early African America, 1650-1800

Leland Ferguson


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Winner of the Southern Anthropological Society's prestigious James Mooney Award, Uncommon Ground takes a unique archaeological approach to examining early African American life. Ferguson shows how black pioneers worked within the bars of bondage to shape their distinct identity and lay a rich foundation for the multicultural adjustments that became colonial America.Through pre-Revolutionary period artifacts gathered from plantations and urban slave communities, Ferguson integrates folklore, history, and research to reveal how these enslaved people actually lived. Impeccably researched and beautifully written.

Praise For Uncommon Ground: Archaeology and Early African America, 1650-1800

“The uncommon ground in the title of Ferguson's highly provocative book is that which yields up evidence of African Americans during the Pre-Revolutionary period. The discussion of archaelogocial findings that elucidate how these enslaved people actually lived is so surprisingly engaging and accessible that at times this reads like a detective story, with one tantalizing clue leading the author to yet another.”—Publishers Weekly

“Fascinating stuff . . . highly recommended.”—Library Journal

“An eloquent book that is both moving and scholarly.”—American Anthropologist

“A major analytical achievement. Through its bold proposition that slaves enjoyed ‘ideological power,’ [Uncommon Ground] offers a new and different model for analyzing plantation social relations.”—American Historical Review

Smithsonian Books, 9781560980599, 232pp.

Publication Date: September 17, 2004

About the Author

Leland Ferguson is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.