Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

David B. Landon

Second Advisor

Stephen A. Mrozowski

Third Advisor

Lu Ann De Cunzo


Avery’s Rest was a diverse, thriving plantation in Sussex County, Delaware in the late 1600s and early 1700s. John Avery, a flavorful character from England by way of Massachusetts and Maryland, settled the plantation in the late 1600s and made his final home there with his wife and children. After his death, the same site was then occupied by his daughter, Jemima, and her husband.

Excavated by the Archaeological Society of Delaware, the numerous artifacts from the archaeological site provide a glimpse into the lives of settlers on the colonial frontier as they fought to survive environmental challenges, negotiated continuous political upheaval, established a successful business venture, and navigated the multicultural atmosphere of Sussex County. Through analysis of the artifacts of personal adornment and objects involved in the making of a personal image, the lives of the occupants of Avery’s Rest are illustrated within three topical ideas: Native Americans at Avery’s Rest, dressing the Avery household, and household production.

This research is set within the framework of the available documentary record of the Avery family and the county to provide an example of what life was like for the Averys and other residents of Sussex County during this time. Guided by ideas of artifact life and additional personal adornment theories advocated by Diana DiPaolo Loren, Mary Beaudry, and Carolyn White, this study also draws on theories of hybridity from Stephen Silliman and power from Suzanne Spencer-Wood. Ultimately, the artifacts studied support the idea that Avery’s Rest was a frontier environment with a population influenced by the variety of cultures in Sussex County, Delaware during the late 17th century. John Avery smartly invested his wealth which allowed him and the plantation to prosper despite the challenges faced by many early settlers in the area.