Enslavement and emancipation

Authored by: Terrance Weik

The Routledge Handbook of Global Historical Archaeology

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138704053
eBook ISBN: 9781315202846
Adobe ISBN:


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For over four decades, slavery has been a popular topic among archaeologists. There is a mix of newer trends and older concerns that resonate in 21st-century archaeologies of enslavement. While interest in Mediterranean and pre-colonial forms of slavery has been slowly growing, investigations of Africans in diaspora and Africa remain the dominant focus in archaeology. This chapter explores archaeological investigations of enslavement in the Atlantic world and the Americas in colonies, nations, and capitalist societies, with particular attention to the last 500 years of bondage. An increasingly diverse range of geographies, forms, contexts, and themes are emerging in archaeologies of slavery, emancipation, and self-liberation in the new millennium.

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