Date of Award

8-1-2013

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

Stephen W. Silliman

Second Advisor

Stephen A. Mrozowski

Third Advisor

Nan A. Rothschild

Abstract

While there is a great body of historical archaeological work that has been performed in many colonial cities (e.g., Mrozowski 2006; Rothschild 1990; Wall 1994), the development of colonial New York City is ripe for further study. Rothschild (1990) has shown that throughout the eighteenth century in New York City, residents began to construct their identities around economics and class, while the earlier preeminence of ethnicity as the paramount aspect of identity began to fade. Rothschild's (1990) work and others beg the question of how, when, and at what tempo class took over as a rallying point of social identity during the eighteenth century.

Using artifacts from the Stadt Huys and 7 Hanover Square archaeological projects in New York City, this project addresses the question of whether the consumption practices of two contemporaneous French Huguenot households can be identified in eighteenth-century deposits in New York City and if so, whether they can provide a window into the accretion of economic identity in the eighteenth-century city. Namely, how did the households of Louis Carré, a Huguenot, and Simeon Soumaine, born in England but with Huguenot ancestry, adjust to and negotiate social and material life in the dynamic early eighteenth-century city?

Engaging the artifacts associated with these households in addition to historical documents and research, this project also addresses larger questions about the city's developing consumer culture and market of goods. This project shows that occupation- and class-based distinctions had begun to arise in social identity formation during the early eighteenth century, wherein these two wealthy Huguenot households could invoke their gentility while at the same time engaging with their personal tastes and preferences in the wider market of early eighteenth-century New York City.

Comments

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