Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

David B. Landon

Second Advisor

Nedra K. Lee

Third Advisor

Stephen Mrozowski


As an African American-Native American family living on Nantucket in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the household of Seneca Boston and Thankful Micah faced many challenges of race, class, and gender. Through an minimal number of vessels analysis of their ceramic assemblage, it becomes clear that in order to successfully navigate their diverse identities in a predominantly white society the Boston-Micah family adopted both a public and private persona. The presence of European manufactured ceramics such as hand painted and transfer printed pearlware, plain creamware, and Chinese porcelain expresses an identity consistent with a European middle-class family. Additionally, two inkbottles and a tin-glazed punch bowl suggest the family’s literacy and awareness of Euro-American genteel practices. However, several sherds of earthenware ceramics combining European production techniques with Native decorative traditions reinforce the family’s Native American background. The presence of these ceramic vessels suggests the existence of both a private and public identity that can today only be recognized in the Boston-Micah family’s consumption practices.


Free and open access to this Campus Access Thesis is made available to the UMass Boston community by ScholarWorks at UMass Boston. Those not on campus and those without a UMass Boston campus username and password may gain access to this thesis through resources like Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global or through Interlibrary Loan. If you have a UMass Boston campus username and password and would like to download this work from off-campus, click on the "Off-Campus UMass Boston Users" link above.