Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

‘This Islande is Inhabited with all Sortes’1: The Archaeology of Creolisation in Speightstown, Barbados, and Beyond, AD 1650–1900

  • Niall Finneran (a1)

Abstract

Studies of creole material cultures in historical archaeological frameworks in the Americas and Caribbean from the sixteenth century onwards emphasise the diversity and dynamism of cultural traits that are rooted in a range of different backgrounds: indigenous, African and European. Using a case study based upon recent historical and multidisciplinary archaeological research in north-western Barbados, this paper seeks to chart the development of a distinct vernacular Barbadian creole material culture over the period 1650–1900. It is argued here that the evolution of a strong and characteristic local cultural identity, as evidenced by recent archaeological research, counters the usual perception, common among historians of the period, that the plantocracy and its associated agents merely sought to reproduce English culture in the tropics. In fact the cultural picture as presented here is far more nuanced, and has implications for wider historical archaeological studies in the region.

Les études des cultures matérielles créoles menées dans les cadres de l'archéologie historique aux Amériques et dans les Caraïbes à partir du XVIe siècle soulignent la diversité et le dynamisme de leurs traits culturels d'origines très diverses: indigène, africaine et européenne. S'appuyant sur une étude de cas basée sur des recherches archéologiques historiques et pluridisciplinaires récentes menées au nord-ouest de la Barbade, cet article tente de retracer le développement d'une culture matérielle créole vernaculaire distincte à la Barbade durant la période 1650–1900. Il soutient que cette évolution d'une identité culturelle locale vigoureuse et caractéristique attestée par les recherches archéologiques récentes contredit la perception habituelle répandue parmi les historiens de cette période que la plantocratie et les agents qui lui étaient associés cherchaient seulement à reproduire la culture anglaise dans les Tropiques. En fait, le tableau brossé ici sur cette culture, beaucoup plus nuancé, a des implications pour les études d'archéologie historique plus générales sur la région.

In den Studien kreolischer Sachkulturen seit dem 16. Jahrhundert in historisch-archäologischem Rahmen in Nord- und Südamerika und der Karibik werden Vielfalt und Dynamik der kulturellen Merkmale ganz besonders betont, die ihre Wurzeln in verschiedenen Hntergründen einheimischer, afrikanischer und europäischer Art haben. Anhand einer Fallstudie, die auf einem vor kurzem im Nordwesten von Barbados durchgeführten historischen und multidisziplinären archäologischen Forschungsprojekt basiert, wird in dieser Abhandlung versucht, die Entwicklung einer individuellen einheimischen kreolischen Sachkultur von Barbados über einen Zeitraum von 1650–1900 darzustellen. Es wird hier argumentiert, dass diese in den neuesten archäologischen Forschungen nachgewiesene Entwicklung einer ausgeprägten charakteristisch lokalen kulturellen Identität der unter den zeitgenössischen Historikern allgemein geltenden Anschauung widerspricht, dass die Plantokratie und die mit ihr verbundenen Vertreter lediglich bemüht waren, die englische Kultur in die Tropen zu verpflanzen. In der Tat ist das hier dargestellte kulturelle Bild wesentlich differenzierter und wird Auswirkungen auf die breiteren historisch-archäologischen Studien in der Region haben.

Copyright

Footnotes

Hide All
1.

London, British Library, Sloane ms 3926.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Ahlman, T, Schroedl, G, McKeown, A, Speakman, RGlascock, M 2008. ‘Ceramic production and exchange among enslaved Africans on St Kitts, West Indies’, J Caribbean Archaeol, 2, 109122
Allen, C 2002. ‘Creole: the problem of definition’, in Shepherd and Richards 2002b, 47–63
Anon 1953. ‘Quaker records’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 21, 2628
Arbell, M 2002. The Jewish Nation of the Caribbean: the Spanish–Portuguese Jewish settlements in the Caribbean and the Guianas, Hewlett, NY: Gefen
Arends, J, Muysken, PSmith, N 1995. Pidgins and Creoles: an introduction, Amsterdam: Benjamins
Armstrong, D 1998. ‘Cultural transformation among Caribbean slave communities’, in Studies in Culture Contact: interaction, culture change and archaeology (ed J Cusick), 378401, Carbondale, Ill: Southern Illinois University Center for Archaeological Investigations
Armstrong, D 1999. ‘Archaeology and ethnohistory of the Caribbean plantation’, in ‘I too am America’: archaeological studies of African-American lives (ed T Singleton), 173192, Charlottesville, Va: University Press of Virginia
Armstrong, D 2010. ‘Degrees of freedom in the Caribbean: archaeological explorations of the transitions from slavery’, Antiquity, 84 (323), 146160
Armstrong, DFleischmann, M 2003. ‘House yard burials of enslaved laborers in eighteenth-century Jamaica’, Int J Hist Archaeol, 7 (1), 3365
Armstrong, DHauser, M 1999. ‘Embedded identities: piecing together relationships through compositional analysis of low-fired earthenware’, in African Sites: archaeology in the Caribbean (ed J Haviser), 6593, Princeton, NJ: Markus Weiner
Beasley, N 2009. Christian Ritual and the Creation of British Slave Societies, Athens and London: University of Georgia Press
Beckles, H 1982. ‘Notes on the decolonisation of West Indian history: towards the uncovering of the Barbadian revolutionary tradition’, Bull Eastern Caribbean Affairs, 8 (2), 1323
Beckles, H 1990a. A History of Barbados: from Amerindian settlement to nation state, Cambridge University Press
Beckles, H 1990b. ‘ “A riotous and unruly lot”: Irish indentured servants and freemen in the English West Indies’, William Mary Q, 3rd ser, 47 (4), 503522
Beckles, H 2002. ‘Creolisation in action: the slave labour elite and anti-slavery in Barbados’, in Shepherd and Richards 2002b, 181–201
Benn-Torres, J, Bonilla, C, Robbins, C M, Waterman, L, Moses, T Y, Hernandez, W, Santos, E R, Bennett, F, Aiken, W, Tullock, T, Coard, K, Hennis, A, Wu, S, Nemesure, B, Leske, M C, Freeman, V, Carpten, JKittles, R A 2008. ‘Admixture and population stratification in African Caribbean populations’, Annals Human Genetics, 72, 9098
Bennell, M 2002. ‘An archaeological survey of Holetown Fort, Barbados’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 48, 1228
Bickerton, D 1983. ‘Creole languages’, Sci American, 249 (8), 116122
Bienvenu, M, Brasseaux, CBrasseaux, R 2005. Stir the Pot: the history of Cajun cuisine, New York: Hippocrene
Bowey, M 2012. ‘Commemoration in Barbados: an archaeology of monumental funerary culture from a parish church’, unpublished MRes dissertation, University of Winchester
Braithwaite, E 1971. Development of Creole Society in Jamaica 1770–1820, Oxford: Clarendon Press
Brodber, E 1975. A Study of Yards in the City of Kingston, Working Paper 9, Kingston, Jamaica: Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of the West Indies
Brown, H 1942. ‘The sea fisheries of Barbados: a report’, Development and Welfare in the West Indies, 3, 118
Brown, LInniss, T 2005. ‘The slave family in the transition to freedom, Barbados, 1834–1841’, Slavery and Abolition, 26 (2), 257269
Cadbury, H 1941. ‘An account of Barbados 200 years ago’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 9, 8183
Cadbury, H 1942. ‘A Quaker account of Barbados in 1718’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 10, 118124
Campbell, P 1972. ‘Merchants and traders of Barbados’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 34, 8598
Chester, G 1870. ‘Shell implements and other antiquities of Barbados’, Archaeol J, 27, 4352
Connell, N 1957a. ‘Father Labat's visit to Barbados in 1700’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 24, 160174
Connell, N 1957b. ‘Furniture and furnishings from Barbados during the seventeenth century’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 24, 102121
Connell, N 1957c. ‘Punch drinking and its accessories’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 25, 117
Connell, N 1959. ‘Eighteenth-century furniture and its background in Barbados’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 26, 162190
Craton, M 1991. ‘Reluctant creoles: the planters’ world in the British West Indies’, in Strangers within the Realm: cultural margins of the first British Empire (eds B Bailyn and P Morgan), 316360, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press
Dann, GPotter, R 2001. ‘Supplanting the planters: hawking heritage in Barbados, Int J Hospitality Tourism Administration, 2 (3), 5184
Dash, J 1964. ‘The windmills and copper walls of Barbados’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 31, 4360
Dawdy, S 2000. ‘Understanding cultural change through the vernacular: creolization in Louisiana’, Hist Archaeol, 34 (3), 107123
Deagan, K 1996. ‘Colonial transformations: Euro-American cultural genesis in the early Spanish American colonies’, J Anthropol Res, 52 (2), 135160
Deagan, K 2003. ‘Colonial origins and colonial transformations in Spanish America’, Hist Archaeol, 37 (4), 313
Deetz, J 1986. In Small Things Forgotten: the archaeology of early American life, Garden City, NY: Doubleday
Drewett, P 1991. Prehistoric Barbados, London: University College London, Institute of Archaeology
Dunn, R 1969. ‘The Barbados census of 1680: profile of the richest colony in English America’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 33, 5775
Dunn, R 1972. Sugar and Slaves: the rise of the planter class in the English West Indies 1624–1713, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press
Edwards, J 2006. ‘Creole architecture: a comparative analysis of Upper and Lower Louisiana and Sainte Domingue’, Int J Hist Archaeol, 10 (3), 241271
Ewen, C 2000. ‘From colonist to creole: archaeological patterns of Spanish colonisation in the New World’, Hist Archaeol, 34 (3), 3645
Farnsworth, P (ed) 2001. Island Lives: historical archaeologies of the Caribbean, Tuscaloosa, Ala: University of Alabama Press
Farrar, P 1941. ‘The Jews in Barbados’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 9, 130133
Fennell, C 2000. ‘Conjuring boundaries: inferring past identities from religious artefacts’, Int J Hist Archaeol, 4 (4), 281–313
Finneran, N 2012. ‘The Speightstown Community Archaeology Project, St Peter 2010–2012: an interim retrospect and prospect’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 58, 110136
Forde, N 1998. ‘Aspects of the material culture of Barbados in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: a case study of Barbadian antique furniture’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 44, 107116
Gerbner, K 2010. ‘The ultimate sin: Christianising slaves in Barbados in the seventeenth century’, Slavery and Abolition, 31 (1), 5773
Gershenhorn, J 2004. Melville J Hershkovits and the Racial Politics of Knowledge, Lincoln, Nebr: University of Nebraska Press
Gragg, L 2003. Englishmen Transplanted: the English colonization of Barbados 1627–1660, Oxford University Press
Greene, J 1988. Pursuits of Happiness: the social development of early modern British colonies and the formation of American culture, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press
Greenfield, S 1981. ‘Barbadians and Barbadian house forms in the Brazilian Amazon’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 36, 253265
Gunkel, AHandler, J 1969. ‘A Swiss medical doctor's description of Barbados in 1661’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 33, 313
Handler, J 1963. ‘A historical sketch of pottery manufacture in Barbados’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 30, 129153
Handler, J 1967. ‘Plantation field names in Barbados’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 32, 133142
Handler, J 1970. ‘The Amerinidian slave population of Barbados in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 33, 111136
Handler, J 1972. ‘An archaeological investigation of the domestic life of plantation slaves in Barbados’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 34, 6472
Handler, J 1997. ‘An African-type healer/diviner and his grave goods: a burial from a plantation slave cemetery in Barbados, West Indies’, Int J Hist Archaeol, 1 (2), 91130
Handler, J 1998. ‘Life histories of enslaved Africans in Barbados’, Slavery and Abolition, 19 (1), 129140
Handler, J 2009. ‘The Middle Passage and the material culture of captive Africans’, Slavery and Abolition, 30 (1), 126
Handler, JBilby, K 2001. ‘Notes and documents on the early use and origin of the term “obeah” in Barbados and the Anglophone Caribbean’, Slavery and Abolition, 22 (2), 87100
Herman, B 1997. ‘The embedded landscapes of the Charleston Single House 1780–1820’, in Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture. Vol VII: Exploring Everyday Landscapes (eds A Adams and S McMurry), 4157, Knoxville, Tenn: University of Tennessee Press
Holm, J 1988. Pidgins and Creoles. Vol I: Theory and Structure, Cambridge University Press
Holm, J 1989. Pidgins and Creoles. Vol II: Reference Survey, Cambridge University Press
Kelly, K 2008. ‘Creole cultures of the Caribbean: historical archaeology in the French West Indies’, Int J Hist Archaeol, 12 (4), 388402
Korn, B 1976. ‘Barbadian Jewish wills 1670–1740’, in A Bicentennial Festschrift for Jacob Rader Marcus (ed B Korn), 303321, New York: Ktav
Lange, FHandler, J 1980. ‘The archaeology of Mapps cave: a contribution to the prehistory of Barbados’, J British Virgin Islands Archaeol Soc, 9, 316
Lawrence, SShepherd, N 2006. ‘Historical archaeology and colonialism’, in The Cambridge Companion to Historical Archaeology (eds D Hicks and M Beaudry), 6986, Cambridge University Press
Lawrence, SStaniforth, M 1998. The Archaeology of Whaling in Southern Australia and New Zealand, Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology/Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology Spec Publ 10, Gundaroo, NSW: Brolga Press
Leone, M 1984. ‘Interpreting ideology in historical archaeology: using the rules of perspective in the William Paca Garden in Annapolis, Maryland’, in Ideology, Representation and Power in Prehistory (eds C Tilley and D Miller), 2535, Cambridge University Press
Leslie, C 1740. A New and Exact History of Jamaica, Edinburgh: R Fleming
Loftfield, T 2001. ‘Creolization in seventeenth-century Barbados: two case studies’, in Farnsworth 2001, 207–33
Maygarden, B 2006. ‘Building in colonial Louisiana: creolisation and the survival of French traditions’, Int J Hist Archaeol, 10 (3), 211239
Meniketti, M 2012. ‘ “And now they are gone”: documenting the last sailing lighter of Nevis, West Indies’, Int J Nautical Archaeol, 41 (1), 134147
Meredith, S 2003. ‘Barbadian Tuk music: colonial development and post-independence recontextualisation’, Ethnomusicology Forum, 12 (2), 81106
Messenger, J 1967. ‘The influence of the Irish in Montserrat’, Caribbean Q, 13, 326
Mintz, SPrice, R 1992. The Birth of African American Culture, Boston, Mass: Beacon Press
Mouer, D 1993. ‘Chesapeake creoles: the creation of folk culture in Colonial Virginia’, in The Archaeology of Seventeenth-Century Virginia (eds T Reinhart and D Pogue), 107123, Archaeological Society of Virginia Spec Publ 30, Courtland, Va
Mrozowoski, S 2010. ‘Creole materialities: archaeological explorations of hybridized realities on a North American plantation’, J Hist Sociology, 23 (1), 1639
O'Shaughnessy, A 2000. An Empire Divided: the American Revolution and the British Caribbean, Philadelphia, Pa: University of Pennsylvania Press
Oppenheim, S 1914. ‘The Jews in Barbados in 1739: an attack on their synagogue’, Publ American Jewish Hist Soc, 22, 197198
Orser, CFunari, P 2001. ‘Archaeology and slave resistance and rebellion’, World Archaeol, 33 (1), 6172
Parker, M 2011. The Sugar Barons: family, corruption, empire and war, London: Windmill
Pearson, W 1996. ‘Water power in a dry continent: the transfer of watermill technology from Britain to Australia in the nineteenth century’, Australasian Hist Archaeol, 14, 4662
Phillips, D 1992. ‘The configuration of fortifications’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 40, 5660
Poston, J 1997. The Buildings of Charleston: a guide to the city's architecture, Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press
Prabhu, S 2007. Hybridity: limits, transformations, prospects, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press
Puckrein, G 1984. Little England: plantation society and Anglo-Barbadian politics, New York University Press
Pyle, D 1998. Clean Sweet Wind: sailing craft of the Lesser Antilles, Preston, Md: Easy Reach Press
Romero, ACreswell, J 2010. ‘Deplete locally, impact globally: environmental history of shore-based whaling in Barbados, West Indies’, Open Conservation Biology Journal, 2010 (4), 1927
Ruppel, T, Neuwirth, J, Leone, MFry, G M 2003. ‘Hidden in view: African spiritual spaces in North American landscapes’, Antiquity, 77 (296), 321335
Samuel, W 1936. A Review of Jewish Colonists in Barbados in the Year 1680, London: Purnell
Shepherd, VRichards, G 2002a. ‘Introduction’, in Shepherd and Richards 2002b, xi–xxvii
Shepherd, VRichards, G (eds) 2002b. Questioning Creole: creolisation discourses in Caribbean culture, Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle
Shilstone, E 1935. ‘Parish churches of Barbados built after the hurricane of 1831’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 4, 58
Shilstone, E 1966. ‘The Jewish synagogue, Bridgetown, Barbados’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 32, 315
Smith, A, Huger, R, Smith, DHuger, E 1917. Dwelling Houses of Charleston, South Carolina, New York: Diadem
Smith, F 2004. ‘Holetown: archaeological investigations at the site of the first British settlement in Barbados’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 50, 4965
Smith, FWatson, K 2009. ‘Urbanity, sociability and commercial exchange in the Barbados sugar trade: a comparative colonial archaeological perspective on Bridgetown, Barbados in the seventeenth century’, Int J Hist Archaeol, 13 (1), 6379
Smith, M, Loftfield, TPaulsson, F 1995. ‘Preliminary investigation of orange micaceous earthenware from the early Colonial Period Charles Towne colony, Cape Fear River, North Carolina: implications for local manufacture’, in P B Vandiver, J R Druzik et al (eds), Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology. Vol IV, 589595, Pittsburgh, Pa: Materials Research Society
Southey, T 1827. Chronological History of the West Indies. Vol II, London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown & Green
Staniforth, MMcGonnigal, M 2007. The History and Archaeology of the Gaultois and Balaena Shore-based Whaling Stations in Newfoundland, Canada, Maritime Archaeology Monogr Ser 6, Adelaide: Flinders University, Department of Archaeology
Thomas, P 1930. ‘The Barbadians in early South Carolina’, South Carolina Hist Geneal Mag, 31 (2), 7592
Vaughan, M 2005. Creating the Creole Island: slavery in eighteenth-century Mauritius, Durham, NC: Duke University Press
Vlach, J 1976a. ‘The Shotgun House: an African architectural legacy. Part 1’, J Pioneer America Soc, 8 (1), 4756
Vlach, J 1976b. ‘The Shotgun House: an African architectural legacy. Part 2’, J Pioneer America Soc, 8 (2), 5770
Waterman, T 1946. ‘Some early buildings of Barbados’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 13, 140148
Watson, K 1979. The Civilised Island Barbados: a social history 1750–1816, Bridgetown, Barbados: Caribbean Graphic Production
Watters, D 2001. ‘Historical archaeology in the British Caribbean’, in Farnsworth 2001, 82–102
Welch, P 1998. ‘Jews in a Caribbean colonial society: resistance and accommodation in Bridgetown, Barbados, 1675–1834’, J Barbados Mus Hist Soc, 44, 5464
Wilkie, LFarnsworth, P 1999. ‘Trade and the construction of Bahamian identity: a multi-scalar exploration’, Int J Hist Archaeol, 3 (4), 283320
Zacek, N 2010. Settler Society in the English Leeward Islands 1670–1776, Cambridge University Press
Zierden, MCalhoun, J 1986. ‘Urban adaptation in Charlestown, South Carolina 1730–1820’, Hist Archaeol, 20 (1), 2943

‘This Islande is Inhabited with all Sortes’1: The Archaeology of Creolisation in Speightstown, Barbados, and Beyond, AD 1650–1900

  • Niall Finneran (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed