Douglas V. Armstrong
Maxwell Professor of Teaching Excellence
Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1983
Archaeology of North America, historical archaeology, ethnohistory, Caribbean, North America
Over the past two decades I have directed a variety of projects focusing on cultural transformation and the emergence of African Caribbean communities in plantation and “free village” settings. My analysis of the emergence of a free-black community on St. John (formerly Danish West Indies) was published in a book Creole Transformation from Slavery to Freedom: Historical Archaeology of the East End Community, St. John, Virgin Islands (University Press of Florida 2003). I recently completed the analysis of an excavation of Cinnamon Bay plantation. The study explores a small beachhead cotton/provisioning/maritime estate that was settled prior to formal colonization of St. John and burned during the St. John rebellion of 1733. My most recent project on St. John is a whole island historic site GIS survey
In addition to my international research, I have carried out a series of local research projects in Central New York. These projects have focused on sites and contexts associated with the abolitionist and social reform movements of in the region surrounding Syracuse in the 19 century. The study of the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the associated effort to “save the faces” found sculpted in dirt and clay in the basement of this abolitionist church not only provided the stimulus for a community wide effort to conserve and retain this art within our community, but the project led to a re-awakening as to the importance of the abolitionist movement in the region and an awareness of the complex networks of social interaction related to this reform movement.
My current research at the Harriet Tubman National Landmark in Auburn, New York follows-up on my interest in sites and people engaged in social reform in the region. For the past several years I have been engaged in cooperative research with the Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. I have directed a series of archaeological excavations and surveys on property that was owned by Tubman from 1859 until her death in 1913. My initial study was an excavation of John Brown Hall the dormitory/infirmary at Tubman’s “Home for the Aged.” This building was the primary residence of a home for aging African Americans that was established by Harriet Tubman in the 1890s and transferred by her to the AME Zion Church in 1903. The study location of the site, generated significant information on life and conditions at the home, and was critical in encouraging recognition of the many significant ruins and archaeological features on the 32 acre Harriet Tubman Home property. In 2002-2003 I carried out an intensive survey of the entire property defining several areas of potential significance. Most recently I have conducted excavations at Tubman’s residence and a brick kiln feature on her property. Excavation of her residence demonstrated that the present brick structure on the property was constructed following a fire that destroyed an earlier wood frame house. Archaeological findings indicated that this event occurred in the early 1880s and subsequent historical research has uncovered documents describing a house fire on February 9, 1880, with subsequent tax records indicating that the brick house was constructed by 1883. Significant archaeological materials recovered include a large quantity of personal possessions that were apparently removed from the house after the fire and buried in a builder’s trench just along the building’s foundations when the house was rebuilt. Another interesting aspect of the research is evidence suggesting that the building was constructed with bricks manufactured on Tubman’s property from local clay by African American brick makers.
BOOKS / MONOGRAPHS
Armstrong, Douglas V.
2011 Out of Many, One People: The Historical Archaeology of Colonial Jamaica. University of Alabama Press (co-edited with James A. Delle, Mark Hauser; June 2011)
ARTICLES, CHAPTERS, AND FORMAL REPORTS
2011 Reflections on Seville: Rediscovering the African Jamaican Settlements at Seville Plantation, St. Ann’s Bay. In Out of Many One People: Historical Archaeology in Jamaica, James Delle, Mark Hauser and Douglas V. Armstrong, editors. University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa. Pp. 77-101.
2011 Historical Archaeology in Jamaica: An Introduction (with Mark Hauser and, James Delle). In Out of Many One People: Historical Archaeology in Jamaica, James Delle, Mark Hauser and Douglas V. Armstrong, editors. University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa. Pp. 1-20.
2011 Identity and Opportunity in Post-Slavery Jamaica (with Kenneth Kelley and, Mark Hauser). In Out of Many One People: Historical Archaeology in Jamaica, James Delle, Mark Hauser and Douglas V. Armstrong, editors. University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa. Pp. 243-257.
2011 The Epologue: Explorations in Jamaican Historical Archaeology. In Out of Many One People: Historical Archaeology in Jamaica, James Delle, Mark Hauser and Douglas V. Armstrong, editors. University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa. Pp. 258-271.
2010 Lieutenant Peter L. Oxholm and the Mapping of St. John. In St. John: Life in Five Quarters. David Knight, Editor. St. John Historical Society Pp . 177-119. (with David Knight, Mark Hauser, and Steven Lenik).
2010 Degrees of Freedom in the Caribbean: Archaeological Explorations of Transitions from Slavery. Antiquity 83(322): 1-15.
2010 The Magen’s-Pedersen House, Charlotte Amalie: Archaeology an Urban House Compound in the former Danish West Indies. In Proceedings of the XX Congress of the International Association of Caribbean Archaeology, Kingston. Jamaica National Heritage Trust (with Christian Williamson and David Knight). Pp. 411-425.
2010 Interpreting the Presence of Moravian Produced Slipware Pottery at Cinnamon Bay, St. John, U. S. Virgin Islands. In Proceedings of the XX Congress of the International Association of Caribbean Archaeology, Kingston. Jamaica National Heritage Trust (with Stephan Lenik). Pp. 508-523.
2009 A Sea of Diversity: Historical Archaeology in the Caribbean Region. In International Handbook of Historical Archaeology Chapter 32. T. Majewsky and D. Gaimster (editors). Pp. 583-612. Springer Science. (with Mark Hauser).
2009 Variation in Venues of Slavery and Freedom: Interpreting the late 18th Century Cultural Landscape of St. John, Danish West Indies Using an Archaeological GIS. International Journal of Historical Archaeology. (with Mark M. Hauser and David W. Knight). 13(1):94-111.
2008 Excavating African American Heritage: Towards a More Nuanced Understanding of the African Diaspora. Historical Archaeology 42 (2): 123-137.
2008 Maps, Matricals, and Material Remains: Archaeology of Late Eighteenth Century Historic Sites on St. John, Danish West Indies. Pp. 99-126. (senior author with Mark Hauser, David Knight, and Stephan Lenik) In Archaeology and Geoinformatics: Case Studies from the Caribbean. Basil A Reid, Editor. University of Alabama Press: Birmingham.
2008 Addressing American Capital in an American Capitol: Political, Economic and Cultural Identity. Cambridge Journal of Archaeology. 18(1): 101-115.
2008 House Area 15, Seville Plantation, St. Ann, Jamaica. Syracuse University and the Digital Archive of Comparative Slavery. (with Gillian Galle. On line publication: Thomas Jefferson Foundation and the Mellon Foundation. http://www.daacs.org/resources/sites/SevilleHouse16/background.html#d0e54.
2008 House Area 16, Seville Plantation, St. Ann, Jamaica. Syracuse University and the Digital Archive of Comparative Slavery. (with Gillian Galle. On line publication: Thomas Jefferson Foundation and the Mellon Foundation. http://www.daacs.org/resources/sites/SevilleHouse16/background.html#d0e54.
2007 Estate Consolidation, Land Use, and Ownership: A GIS Archaeological Landscape Survey of St. John, Danish West Indies (1780-1800), with a Particular Focus on Annaberg Plantation. (with Mark M. Hauser, Stephan Lenik and Kenneth Wild) In Proceedings of the XXI Congress of the International Association of Caribbean Archaeology. University of the West Indies, Trinidad. Pp.69-80.
2007 What to do with “other ceramics”: Inter-colonial trade of French coarse earthenware. (with Mark Hauser and Kenneth Kelly) In Proceedings of the XXI Congress of the International Association of Caribbean Archaeology. University of the West Indies, Trinidad. Pp.679-587
2007 Integrated Cultural Resource Management Plan 2007-2011. (with David Babson) Rome Research Site, Stockridge Test Facility and Newport Test Facility Syracuse University Archaeological Research Center for Rome Research Cite, U.S. Air Force.