Casella exposes the diversity of power relations that structure many of America's confinement institutions. She weaves together themes of punishment, involuntary labor, personal dignity, and social identity.
Excavations at cities including New York and Philadelphia reveal that slavery was a crucial part of the expansion of urban life as late as the 1840s. The case studies in this book also show that enslaved African-descended people frequently staffed suburban manor houses and agricultural plantations. Moreover, for free blacks, racist laws such as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 limited the experience of freedom in the region. Delle explains how members of the African diaspora created rural communities of their own and worked in active resistance against the institution of slavery.
The Archaeology of Prostitution and Clandestine Pursuits synthesizes case studies from various nineteenth-century sites where material culture reveals evidence of prostitution, including a brothel in Five Points, New York City’s most notorious neighborhood, and parlor houses a few blocks from the White House and Capitol Hill.
Orser shows how historical archaeology can contribute to the study of race through the conscious examination of material culture. He argues that race has not always been defined by skin color; through time, its meaning has changed.
Exploring a wide range of settings and circumstances in which individuals or groups of people have been forced to move from one geographical location to another, the case studies in this volume demonstrate what archaeology can reveal about the agents, causes, processes, and effects of human removal.