33 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2016
  2. www.histarch.illinois.edu www.histarch.illinois.edu
    1. But the evidence for a two-period construction is quite clear and sufficient.

      I also find it unbelievable that archaeologists are able to determine precise dates for renovations and buildings. The archaeologists noted that James Burr's house was constructed in two different phases with each phase about thirty years apart from the other. The first phase of construction was likely by Burr's grandfather. The second phase was completed by Burr himself when he added a cellar. Centuries later, archaeologists somehow dated the renovations that occurred on the buildings. This ability nutures the admiration I have for individuals in that profession.

    2. The town authorized the sale of the property in that year, referring to it as land "recently held by Cato Howe, deceased" and "formerly occupied by Prince, man of color."

      Why did the land owned by four men go enlisted as Howe's acreage? Was Howe deemed as more important than his counterparts who also lived in the New Guinea community? Additionally, the town's authorization included the information that the land was formerly occupied by a "man of color" which demonstrates the nation's emphasize on race as a social construct and hierarchy. In realty, European settlers probably did not desire to live in a settlement that was previously owned by an African American. Therefore, under the house's description, the potential buyers were informed if the land was once owned by a "man of color."

    3. This piece of oral history established the cellar as that of James Burr.

      Personally, I have never utilized oral history into any of my research. Therefore, I find it immensely interesting that a key piece of evidence in the archaeological research of Burr's home was that of oral history regarding the cellar. What are the advantages and disadvantages of oral sources?

    4. 61.82 1/2

      By the time of Howe's death, he had acquired more valuables that equated to $61.82 and 1/2. Though, still very few in actual value, the growth of his net value illustrates that during his later life, Howe was able to grow and sustain his belongings. Maybe the African American community that he lived on helped to further his revenue...

    5. Prince Goodwin is the only one of the four whose life before the war is indicated in any way. He was a slave, owned first by Dr. William Thomas and then by his son, judge Joshua Thomas.

      It is unfortunate that the only known records kept of Prince Goodwin before his service in the army was that he served as a slave by Dr. William Thomas and his son, Joshua Thomas. No birth certificates - just his slave contract. The single documentation of his servitude defined Goodwin, until archaeology was implemented in this study and discovered his life story.

    6. Total Value: 27 dollars.

      Howe's total value when asking to receive government pension was $27. This is crazy to even fathom because $27 nowadays will never be enough to survive on. Of course, inflation and the value of a dollar was immensely different in the 1800's, but the slim value of his belongings demonstrate how Howe owned a small amount of items.

    7. At the same time, the committee sought and obtained a vote at Plymouth town meeting to set the land aside for memorial purposes, including the area of the Parting Ways settlement.

      My previous question was answered. The land has been reserved for historical landmark purposes. In fact, after doing research, there is a Parting Ways cemetery that exists in Massachusetts which acts as a historical landmark for the Parting Ways community.

    8. Cato Howe was black.

      This quote about Howe's race was in a paragraph all by itself - the sole sentence in the entire paragraph, thus emphasizing the significance of Howe's race. Additionally, in this brief biography, the author mentions he served in the army. Because of the perception of servicemen during this time period, readers might assume Howe to be of European decent, though the author promptly stops this assumption by stating the shocking fact of Howe's race.

    9. While the state saw to it that these people were free, it did little or nothing to provide for their new needs, and subsistence, employment, and housing were difficult to come by

      After Howe's service, the opportunities for him to succeed and make a decent living were slim even though he was free. The government did very little to help accommodate for Howe. Nowadays, the government is willing and able to help those who have served in our military which contrasts to the 1800's. Was it because of Howe's race that he did not receive aid or was it because the government solely did little to help?

    10. In 1818 he applied to the government for a pension, based on reduced circumstances.

      Is government pension back in the 1800's similar to government aid like medicaid, medicare, food stamps, etc. nowadays? I had no idea that the 1800's instituted welfare programs like modern day.

    11. Cato Howe is not a name we will find in our history books.

      Though, most students do not learn about Howe in history curriculum, it does not mean Howe does not have any historical impact in America. The introduction of Howe makes it appear that the readers have no information regarding him, though once we continue reading, it is incredible how much you can determine about an individual based off archives and archaeological data. Solely based off fact, readers can learn the majority of Howe's lifetime, even though at the beginning of this passage, he is unfamiliar territory.

    12. Even less is known about the three men who were his neighbors in the little community of New Guinea.

      In the article "America must equalize access home-ownership and its wealth opportunities" by Charlene Crowell, Crowell discusses the lack of opportunities for individuals and families who struggle financially to receive equal and accessible housing that permeates financial growth. The government practices discriminatory policies that enables minority races to build any sort of wealth and access financial aid (i.e. loans) to aid in mortgage payments. There exists a connection between this article and Parting Ways in regards to minority communities. In particular, Crowell states "new research by the Center for Responsible Lending, highlights how post-housing crisis lending trends perpetuate racial wealth gaps and housing segregation" (Crowell). Essentially, this modern dilemma depicts the housing status back in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Communities thrived in the 1700's when the individuals that owned land were wealthy and Caucasian. Contrastingly, in Parting Ways, the four African American men were segregated in Plymouth and lived in intense poverty, just like the Latinos and Blacks in present day America. Furthermore, "these practices erect yet another barrier to wealth creation for these communities" (Crowell). Ultimately, because of this racial bias, African American communities, like those of Parting Ways, were unable to thrive financially and remained separate from the white colonized settlements.

      Website Credit:

      Crusader. “America Must Equalize Access to Homeownership and Its Wealth Opportunities.” Gary/Chicago Crusader. N.p., 15 Aug. 2016. Web. 6 Sept. 2016.

    13. A more striking aspect of this pottery is its very high quality. Types such as handpainted creamware are not often encountered on New England sites representing people of average means. We might guess that not only was the pottery given to the people of Parting Ways by the townspeople of Plymouth, but it was given by the wealthier ones

      Why would the wealthy people of Plymouth give the black men very nice pottery? Were racial tensions not as prevalent in Parting Ways and Plymouth? I have this fallacy where I believe that all whites hated African Americans during this era, though that may not be the case. Of course, racial tensions were high and Africans were treated as subordinate, but that hateful mindset does not apply to all Caucasians.

    14. These jars were made in the West Indies, and served as sugar containers for shipment to various colonial ports. They are also said to have been used at times for storing and shipping tamarind, a West African cultivated fruit that was grown in the West Indies.

      Somehow, jars from the West Indies made their way to Parting Ways. This difference in location is incredible. Who gave the men these jar? How did they transport to America? Did the men use it for the same purpose as those who used these jars in the West Indies (for tamarind)?

    15. What degree of African cultural survival can be detected and described when dealing with the material remains of African Americans at an earlier time in the country's history?

      This is exactly the question I have been pondering throughout the piece. Because of their African decent, did the men want to bring parts of their culture over to the community of New Guinea or did they want to expel their heritage from the ethnocentric European settlers?

    16. Mud-wall-and-post construction is reminiscent of West African building methods, although it did occur in the Anglo-American tradition at an earlier time.

      What are the differences between West African and Anglo-American architecture? Stylistically, how did they compare to one another?

    17. Yet, even though the photograph of the Burr house shows a small chimney projecting from the roof, there was neither evidence nor space for a hearth and chimney of the sort seen in American houses of the period.

      Burr's home had a chimney while American houses of the same period did not utilize chimneys.. If Burr's chimney was indeed a properly functioning chimney, then his building's architecture was beyond the time of other American homes. For a financially struggling African American, owning a chimney was a more modern feature that other European homes did not attain.

    18. The shotgun house is acknowledged as a true African American architectural form. Not only does the Burr house plan conform to the ground plans of shotgun houses, the dimensions are remarkably similar.

      The article displays a visual illustrating a traditional shotgun design, similar to Burr's house. In reference to shotgun houses, I took a human geography course where I had to locate traditional shotgun houses within my hometown. Because of the assignment, I became quite knowledgeable on that particular structure. Never did I think that shotgun structures would be utilized again in another course, but I am thankful that it arose in this subject!

    19. The little houses at Parting Ways were probably no less, yet because of the poverty of their builders and the scarcity of material, perhaps the statement was not as blatantly made.

      The houses at Parting Ways may not be intentionally shotgun houses due to their scarce materials and impoverish lifestyle. With limited resources and capital, the men built houses that fit within their budget which so happened to be buildings that resembled those of a shotgun structure. Contrastingly, because of Burr's African background, he could have utilized the African American architectural form when constructing his home. Was there an intention for shotgun houses due to ethnic influences or was it pure coincidence under the scare circumstances?

    20. While it may be that they formed a close community simply for mutual reassurance, it is equally likely that the placement of the houses reflects a more corporate spirit than four Anglo-Americans might show in similar circumstances.

      Instinctively, people with common characteristics, ideas, and beliefs tend to accumulate together to form a sense of a community. I believe this idea resonates with the four men in Parting Ways more so than the idea that the placement of houses reflected their shared "spirit." It seems more probable that their local government decided the placement of their houses and their mutual cultural identities made their community and households similar.

    21. It may be the poverty in which the inhabitants lived that is shown by the large number of cow's feet, which make up the majority of the animal bone found. Such parts were of little value to Anglo-Americans, although they could be cooked to yield nourishment.

      The feet bones that remained from cows tell us about the nourishment and cuisine of Anglo-Americans. At this time, cow feet were of little value to most inhabitants, but they still could act as a source of food, especially to those who are desperate for survival. Maybe, the four men had a particularly preference in cuisine that utilized cow feet as opposed to Anglo-American cuisine... or maybe the four men were so impoverished that they could only utilize the undervalued meat because of their limited income.

    22. Parting Ways is a very special site, in that it was occupied by at least three families of African Americans who were free of those constraints which might have been imposed on them under the institution of slavery.

      This is one of the first times that this article discusses the abnormality of these four men's freedom. I find it quite interesting that these four men were not under the institution of slavery because slavery was unfortunately so common for African Americans during this time period. I do understand that because of their service in the national army, they were able to get out of their contract of slavery, but this was not the norm for most Africans in America. However, it is impressive that after numerous years, four men who gained their freedom were able to form a community together based on the foundation of their ethnicity.

    23. HERE LIE THE GRAVES OF FOUR NEGRO SLAVES QUAMANY    PRINCE PLATO           CATO THESE MEN FOUGHT IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR AND WERE FREED AT ITS CLOSE. The cemetery is located in the original 94 acre plot of land which was deeded to them by the government when they were given their freedom.

      On most gravestones, the text is dedicated to shedding light on deceased individuals' lives to the fullest extent. Though on the four men's gravestone, it does attempt to remember the men positively. Inevitably, it exhibits their inferiority through the presence of "four negro slaves" which illustrates the corrupt racial hierarchy that America instituted. The positive attributes about their service and their freedom, in my opinion, are outweighed by the powerful phrase "negro slaves." Hypothetically, if race were not included in the memorial, then individuals during that time period would have viewed the African American soldiers as more admirable and heroic.

    24. Almost seven thousand artifacts were found atop the paving, and for the most part were concentrated in two discrete areas. The vast majority of these artifacts were fragments of pottery, but there were pieces of shattered glassware as well.

      What was the importance of pottery during this time period? Was it an elevated piece of art that the upper class yearned to own or was it used practically in households by all classes to store various items? Personally, I believe the African Americans utilized the pottery for everyday tasks (i.e storage), though that does not mean the pottery was not important to their culture. The pottery could hold significant value to family lineage and/or cultural customs. Both practicality and aesthetic could be representative by the pottery's use.

    25. Such breakage could be seen to be done to prevent theft, but Vlach cites extensive evidence that such is not the case, since the community will not disturb grave offerings, even coins, as a result of customs which had their origin in the African past.

      Maybe I depict humans as selfish and evil, but why did the community not disturb the grave offerings? I would assume that certain individuals would steal the objects and use them for their own benefit. Perhaps, the valuables did not get stolen because the community recognized the significance of those gravestone offerings to the deceased and respected them... or perhaps the community saw no value in the items and therefore did not result to theft.

    26. It tells us that such patterns are applicable only to the remains of a single cultural tradition, and once outside that tradition, other rules apply.

      The variations in architectural structure of the African men in Parting Ways could potentially occur because of their difference in location in relation to other Anglo-American communities. Similar to the idea of varying dialects between the same culture, the men's style might have a slight variance because they do not live in close proximity to the majority of Anglo-American culture.

    27. Yet America was not a melting pot in the eighteenth century, and it is not one today.

      Americans today assume that our nation has been founded and will forever stand as a cultural "melting pot." Contrast to popular belief, this has never been the case. Differing cultures face immense diversity and are not easily accepted to "swim in the so-called melting pot" like those of European decent. I enjoy how the author concludes with an idea that is contrasting to the belief that Americans have been institutionalized since youth. In relation to Parting Ways, I find it incredible that the four men's African heritage remained as the sole backbone of their homes, even after enduring the hardship that slavery and racial tensions in society inflicted upon them. The four men did not perceive America as a melting pot because the colonists did not desire to swim in the same pot as inferiors.

    28. . . . the grave, save for its rawness, resembled any other marked off without order about the barren plot by shards of pottery and broken bottles and old brick and other objects insignificant to sight but actually of a profound meaning and fatal to touch, which no white man could have read

      Faulkner makes it appear that the decorations on African American gravestones serve no meaning to white individuals, but symbolize immense significance to other African Americans. Ultimately, whites will never understand. This stands out to me because Caucasians have always been deemed as superior and represented in society, but this African gravestone undoubtedly does not include them and praises the African American instead. With a society that is always praising white culture, it is almost unheard of to own valuables that do not involve Caucasians. Additionally, Faulkner is a white man writing about black culture in this excerpt so I wonder if his conclusion about African gravestones is accurate or is it biased?

    29. Parting Ways

      Summary: Parting Ways by James Deetz is a scholarly article that highlights an African American community and discovers decades worth of information based on the archaeological examination of the homes in Parting Ways. The article focuses on Cato Howe, Prince Goodwin, Plato Turner, and Quamany. Initially, not much is known about these individuals apart from the fact that they were once slaves and then were granted their freedom after service in the army. Though on the surface, not much can be inferred about each individuals' life, after immense scrutiny of the architecture of their community, their life stories can be unraveled and praised. Deetz demonstrates the importance of utilizing archaeology in telling the history of the undocumented and potentially forgotten.

    30. Renewed interest in the tiny community and its inhabitants had been generated by a special town bicentennial committee on black history, and this group's efforts at first were directed at the cemetery.

      This is a photo of the gravestone that currently lies in the Parting Ways cemetery. Before finding images of the cemetery, I read that the gravestone stated "here lies the graves of four negro slaves." Initially, I was in disgust because the four men from Parting Ways are more than just negro slaves. They have an identity that goes beyond such a subservient title. They had family, friends, belongings, property, a unique culture. But to the on-goers looking at their gravestone, they are just a group of slaves. Now, after looking at the reality of the photo, I hope people realize the impact that these men had on colonial society other than the coercive labor that they had to endure.

      Image credit:

      “Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials.” N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Sept. 2016.

    31. at home in Plymouth, Massachusetts.


      To familiarize myself with the geography of Parting Ways and to visualize Deetz's setting, I looked up the location on Google Maps. In present day, the Parting Ways community is commemorated with a cemetery that honors the individuals who had once lived there. Parting Ways is located in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Too my surprise (mainly because I'm ignorant about United State's geography), I discovered that the city of Plymouth lies right next to Plymouth bay! After this discovery, it makes sense that the colony would be located near a coastline due to the sail-ships that transported individuals from Europe to the Americas via the Atlantic.

      Website Credit:

      “Parting Ways Cemetery.” Parting Ways Cemetery. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Sept. 2016.

    32. The house has a small central chimney, and with its shingled exterior and six-over-six windows

      This is an image of the Turner-Burr house which was structurally different from most vernacular houses of the nineteenth century. In my opinion, the house reminds me of a classic one-story shotgun style home because of the structure's long and narrow frame. Shotgun houses originate from African influences which could be a coincidence or it could be intentional due to the African Americans living in the community. Additionally, for such a small house, there were plenty of windows that acted as a primary light source. Since electricity was not accessible during this time, it makes sense that the building had numerous windows; it was a necessity.

      Image Credit:

      “parting5.jpg (JPEG Image, 400 × 246 Pixels).” N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Sept. 2016.

    33. The archaeology tells us that in spite of their lowly station in life, they were the bearers of a lifestyle, distinctly their own, neither recognized nor understood by their chroniclers.

      I find it awe-inspiring that despite racial inferiority and poverty, the African men were able to live a distinct ethnic lifestyle in Parting Ways where they developed their own unique culture.