Beef, Mutton, Pork, and a Taste of Turtle: Zooarchaeology and Nineteenth-Century African American Foodways at the Boston-Higginbotham House, Nantucket, Massachusetts
Date of Award
Open Access Thesis
Master of Arts (MA)
David B. Landon
Stephen A. Mrozowski
Heather B. Trigg
In 1774, nearly ten years before slavery was abolished in Massachusetts, an emancipated African American weaver named Seneca Boston purchased a tract of land in the Newtown section of Nantucket, Massachusetts. It is here that over the next thirty years Seneca Boston and his Wampanoag wife, Thankful Micah, would build a house, now known as the Boston-Higginbotham House, and raise six children. The Boston-Higginbotham House was home to the descendents of Seneca Boston and Thankful Micah for over one hundred years. Throughout the 19th century a vibrant and active African American community was developing in Newtown, and several generations of the Boston family played an integral role in this community's development. This thesis utilizes foodways as an entrée into the lives of these individuals through a zooarchaeological analysis of faunal remains deposited as trash from the meals they consumed. Focusing specifically on the animal components of their diets, this thesis considers the role that the foods they consumed may have played in constructing, reconstructing, and negotiating social and economic statuses and ethnicity and in challenging racist stereotypes and ideologies.
Way, Michael Andrew, "Beef, Mutton, Pork, and a Taste of Turtle: Zooarchaeology and Nineteenth-Century African American Foodways at the Boston-Higginbotham House, Nantucket, Massachusetts" (2010). Graduate Masters Theses. 3.
African American Studies Commons, Archaeological Anthropology Commons, United States History Commons