Historical Archaeology in the Twenty-First Century
Lessons from Colonial Williamsburg

Edited by Ywone D. Edwards-Ingram and Andrew C. Edwards

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“This exciting volume highlights the ongoing quality, breadth, and innovative nature of archaeological research at Colonial Williamsburg, making it clear that Williamsburg practitioners continue to lead the field in exploring and demonstrating the value of genuinely innovative, multisource, and multivocal approaches to interpreting the past.”—Audrey Horning, author of Ireland in the Virginian Sea: Colonialism in the British Atlantic  
 
“Archaeologists working at Williamsburg have played a fundamental role in the development of the field of historical archaeology, as well as in the public development of historical and archaeological resources. This volume provides a much-needed addition to the discipline’s knowledge of the research that has been undertaken there.”—Lisa Kealhofer, coeditor of Bioarchaeology of Native American Adaptation in the Spanish Borderlands  
 
This volume is the first to offer an in-depth look at historical archaeology, public history, and reconstruction in Williamsburg through a comprehensive range of sites, topics, and analyses. Uniquely combining a historical landscape and a large town-museum complex, Colonial Williamsburg has deeply influenced the discipline for 100 years through one of the nation’s longest continuously running archaeological conservation programs.            
 
Historical Archaeology in the Twenty-First Century illuminates the town’s history as an early capital of the Virginia Colony and home to the College of William & Mary. In the 1700s, Williamsburg was a center of political, cultural, and commercial life where people of African, European, and Native American descent interacted regularly. The case studies in this volume cover topics including animal husbandry, the oyster industry, architectural reconstruction, window leads, and an apothecary’s display skeleton. Contributors draw attention to the interactions between enslaved and free communities as well as African American burial practices.            
 
Using exemplary approaches and methodologies, this volume addresses key concerns in the field such as amplifying voices of the African diaspora, the development of ethically sound inclusive archaeologies, the value of environmental analyses, and the advantages of virtual models. The research highlighted here provides state-of-the-art examples of how historical archaeology can be used to inform, engage, and educate.  
 
Ywone D. Edwards-Ingram, assistant professor in the Department of Focused Inquiry at Virginia Commonwealth University, was a staff archaeologist at Colonial Williamsburg for nearly twenty-five years. She is the author of The Art and Soul of African American Interpretation. Andrew C. Edwards (1949-2021) was a staff archaeologist at Colonial Williamsburg for over thirty years.
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