Book Reviews -- A Chesapeake Family and Their Slaves: A Study in Historical Archaeology (New Studies in Archaeology) by Anne Elizabeth Yentsch

By King, Julia A. | The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, July 1995 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Book Reviews -- A Chesapeake Family and Their Slaves: A Study in Historical Archaeology (New Studies in Archaeology) by Anne Elizabeth Yentsch


King, Julia A., The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography


A Chesapeake Family and Their Slaves: A Study in Historical Archaeology. By ANNE ELIZABETH YENTSCH. New Studies in Archaeology. COLIN RENFREW and JEREMY SABLOFF, Series Editors. Cambridge, New York, and Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1994. xxxiii, 433 pp. $24.95 paper.

ALTHOUGH historical archaeologists argue that their discipline potentially offers a different way of understanding the past, few studies have emerged that cast genuinely new light on historical interpretations. Part of the problem can be attributed to archaeological methods and categories; the latter often bear little resemblance to categories of social and cultural phenomena. In A Chesapeake Family and Their Slaves, Anne Elizabeth Yentsch overcomes this fundamental problem by expanding the definition of what constitutes archaeological evidence. The focus of the book is eighteenth-century Chesapeake culture, not artifacts, although artifacts are integral to the book's purpose. As a result, this fascinating "study in historical archaeology" is an especially important substantive and methodological contribution to the literature on colonial life in the Chesapeake.

A Chesapeake Family and Their Slaves focuses on the Calvert household in eighteenth-century Annapolis, Maryland. In 1715, young Charles Calvert, the fifth Lord Baltimore, inherited the proprietorship of Maryland, and he depended heavily on his relatives in the colony to represent proprietary interests. These relatives, composing an extensive kinship network, maintained a townhouse in Annapolis beginning in the late 1720s. As many as three Calvert men and their families had access to the Annapolis house in the decades preceding the Revolutionary War, and thirty slaves were living there in 1734. This large household resided on a spacious lot adjacent to State Circle, within view of the colonial statehouse.

Using kinship charts, documents, secondary historical research, paintings, architecture, and artifacts, Yentsch assembles a detailed ethnographic narrative showing how black and white members of the Calvert household used material culture in the negotiation of social identity and social relationships. For example, while the Calvert house provided shelter for the proprietor's kin in the colony's capital, it also served as a powerful symbol to its occupants and to other Maryland colonists.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Book Reviews -- A Chesapeake Family and Their Slaves: A Study in Historical Archaeology (New Studies in Archaeology) by Anne Elizabeth Yentsch
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?