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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.
“This robust, wide-ranging book advances African American archaeology as a fresh field for unearthing early American slaves’ shrouded culture. Integrating research in artifacts, folklore, and history, Ferguson explores black lifeways along the south Atlantic coast. He focuses on South Carolina with its early black majority and its several excavated low country sites to unveil layers of complex social exchanges that made American plantations work. His provocative results project crafty black pioneers working within the bars of bondage to shape their distinct identity and to lay a rich foundation for the multicultural adjustments that became colonial America. This scholarship from the ground up is fascinating stuff; lay readers and experts alike interested in early America, blacks, or material culture will want to read this book. Highly recommended.” — Library Journal
“An eloquent book that is both moving and scholarly.” - American Anthropologist