Theresa Singleton

Professor, Anthropology

Theresa Singleton

Contact Information

209B Maxwell Hall
(315) 443-2435
Curriculum Vitae
Theresa Singleton CV 2020


Ph.D., University of Florida, 1980


Historical archaeology, African American history and culture, slavery in plantation America, Archaeology of the African Diaspora


ANT 641 Anthropological Archaeology
ANT 741 Archaeological Theory
ANT 642/442 Archaeological Methods
ANT 346 Gender thru the Ages 


My areas of interest include historical archaeology, African Diasporas, Museums, North America, and the Caribbean. Throughout my career as an archaeologist, I have combined my research interests with developing museum collections, exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and publications geared toward general audiences.  I am particularly interested in comparative studies of slave societies in the Americas.  I began my study of slavery in coastal Georgia where African-Americans descended from the former slave population are known as the Gullah-Geechee. (Gullah refers to both the creole language they speak as well as to the people themselves). Since that time, I have conducted research, contributed to exhibitions, and published on various aspects of African-American life in United States. More recently, I have undertaken archeological research on slavery in Cuba, and in 2015, published a book on my study of a Coffee plantation. I am also working on another book publication focusing on comparing plantation life in the Caribbean and the United States.


I Too Am America     The Archaeology of Slavery and Plantation Life      Slavery Behind The Wall


Slavery Behind The Wall: An Archaeology of a Cuban Coffee Plantation. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, (2015), 261pp.

In Progress: The Archaeology of Plantation Life in the Caribbean and United States. American Experience in Archaeological Perspective Series. Michael Nassaney editor, under contract University Press of Florida, Gainesville.   

Edited Volumes

I, too, am America:”Archaeological Studies of African-American Life. Charlotteville: University Press of Virginia (1999), 368 pp.

The Archaeology of Slavery and Plantation Life: Orlando, Fla: Academic Press, (1985), 338 pp. Reprinted in a Paperback edition, Walnut Creek, Ca.: Left Coast Press (2009), 360 pp.   

Book Chapters and Journal Articles:    

“Nineteenth Century Built Landscape of Plantation Slavery in Comparative Perspective”  The Archaeology of Slavery: A Comparative Approach to Captivity and Coercion. Ed. Lydia Wilson Marshall, Center for Archaeological Investigations, Occasional Paper No.41, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale (2015), pp. 93-115.

“La vie à l'intérieur d'une enceinte de murailles: Archéologie d'une communauté d'esclaves de Cuba” (Living within a wall enclosure: An Archaeology of a Cuban Slave Community) Archéologie de l'esclavage colonial. Eds.  André Depuech and Jean-Raul Jacob,  L'Institut national de recherches archéologiques preventives[Inrap], La Découverte,  Paris (2014), pp. 183-197.   

“Slavery, Liberation, and Emancipation: Constructing a Post-colonial Archaeology of the African Diaspora.” Handbook of Post-colonial Archaeology. Eds. Jane Lydon and Uzma Rizvi. Walnut Creek, Ca. Left Coast Press (2010), pp. 163-174. 

“Archaeology And Slavery” In Slavery in the Americas: Oxford History Handbooks. Ed. Robert Paquette and Mark Smith. Oxford: Oxford University Press, (2010), pp. 702-724.

“African Diaspora in Archaeology” In The African Diaspora and the Disciplines.  Ed. Tejumola Olaniyan and James Sweet. Bloomington: Indiana University Press (2010), pp. 119-141.

“Reclaiming the Gullah-Geechee  Past : Archaeology of Slavery in Coastal Georgia.” In African American Life in the Georgia Lowcountry: The Atlantic World and the Gullah-Geechee. Ed. Philip A. Morgan. Athens: University of Georgia Press. (2010),  pp.151-187.* (Book awarded the Georgia Historical Society' 2011 Malcolm Bell and Muriel Burrow Bell Award for the best book published on Georgia History in 2010;  Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board “Documenting Georgia History's Award” in 2010). 

“Archaeologies of the African Diaspora: Brazil, Cuba, United States" International Handbook  for Historical Archaeology. Ed. Teresita Majewski and David  Gaimster. New York: Springer Publishers (2009), pp.449-469. (with Marcos André de Souza Torres).

“¿Por Qué Estudiar Plantaciones?  Lecciones Aprendidas de la Arqueología de la Esclavitud y las Plantaciones” In Continuidad y Cambio Cultural En Arqueología Histórica. Ed María Teresa Carrara. Actas del III Congreso Nacional deArqueología Histórica, Rosario, Argentina, 2008, pp. 31-36.

“Landscape, Archaeology, and Memory of Cuban Coffee Plantations” Proceedings of the XX1International Congress of Caribbean Archaeology, Ed. Basil Reid, Henri Petitjean Roget, and Antonio Curet. University of West Indies, School of Continuing Education, St Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago, vol. 2, (2007), pp. 665-668.

“African Diaspora Archaeology in Dialogue” In Afro-Atlantic Dialogues: Anthropology in the Diaspora. Ed. Kevin A. Yelvington.  Santa Fe, New Mexico: School of American Research Press, (2006), pp. 249-287.

“Investigado la vida del esclavo en el Cafetal del Padre” Gabinete de Arqueología,  Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba, Boletín no.4, año 4  (2005):4-13.

“An  archaeological study of slavery on a Cuban coffee plantation” In Dialogues in Cuban Archaeology. Eds. L. Antonio Curet, Shannon L. Dawdy, and Gabino La Rosa Corzo. Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama Press  (2005), 181-199.

“Before the Revolution: Archaeology and the African Diaspora on the Atlantic Seaboard” In North American Archaeology. Ed. Timothy Pauketat and Diana Loren. Boston: Blackwell Publishers, (2005), pp. 319-336.

“Archaeology and Material Culture of Santa Ana de Viajacas: A Coffee Plantation in Western Cuba. In Proceedings of the  XX International Congress of  Caribbean Archaeology, E. Glenis Tavárez and Manuel A García Arévalo, Museo del Hombre Dominicano, and Fundación Garcia Arévalo, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, June 29- July 6,  vol. 2, (2003):725-730.

“Descendant Communities: Linking People in the Present with the  Past” In Ethical Issues in Archaeology. Ed. L. J. Zimmerman, K. D. Vitelli, and Julie Hollowell-Zimmer. Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira Press, (2003), pp.143-152. (with Charles E. Orser).

“Race, Class, and Identity among Free Blacks in the Antebellum South” In The Archaeology of Race and Identity. Ed. Charles. E. Orser, Jr., Salt Lake: University of Utah Press, (2001), pp. 196-207.

“Slavery and Spatial Dialectics on a Cuban Coffee Plantation,” World Archaeology, 33:1 (2001):98-114.

“Breaking Typological Barriers: Looking for the Colono in  Colonoware" In Lines that Divide: Historical Archaeologies of  Race, Class, and Gender .Ed.  J. A Delle, S. A. Mrozowski, and R. Paynter. Knoxville: University Press of Tennessee, (2000) pp.3-21. (with Mark D. Bograd)

Slave Trade Remembered on the Former Gold and Slave Coasts” Slavery and Abolition

20:1(1999):150-169. [Also In From Slavery to Emancipation in the Atlantic World. Ed. Sylvia R. Frey and Betty Wood, London: Frank Cass, (1999),pp.150-169].

Forewords and Epilogues:

Reflexões sobre a arqueologia da diaspora Africana no Brasil [Thoughts on the Archaeology of the African Diaspora in Brazil]. Vestgíos -Revista de Arqueologia Histórica 7, no. 1(2013): 211-219.

Epilogue: “Reflections on Archaeologies of Post-Emancipation from a Student of  Slavery” In The Materiality of Freedom :Archaeologies of Post-emancipation Life.  Ed.  Jodi Barnes  Columbia: University Press of South Carolina (2011):277-282.

“Prólogo” Buenos Aires Negra: Arqueología histórica de una ciudad silenciada  by Daniel Schávelzon. Buenos Aires: Emecé, (2003):2-4.

“An Americanist Perspective on African Archaeology: Toward An Archaeology of the Black Atlantic” In West Africa During the Era of the Atlantic Trade. Ed. C. R, DeCorse. London: Leicester University Press, (2001), 177-185.



Current Advisees

 1. Matthew Greer, PhD student, Archaeology of the Domestic Slave Trade Belle Grove Plantation,  Virginia

 2. Catherine LaVoy, ABD,  Archaeology of Monjope Plantation Pernambuco, Brazil

 3. Sarah Platt, PhD student, Archaeology of the Multiethnic Urban Community in 18th-century Charleston, SC

 4. Amy Sipe, ABD  The Ephrata Cloister: An 18th-century Religious Community   

 5. Lori Stalgren, ABD, Slavery on a  Hemp Plantation in Kentucky

 6. Sarah Stroud, PhD student, Early Colonial Settlement at Drayton Hall, South Carolina  

 7. William Werner, ABD, Pottery and Market Exchange at Hacienda el Mirador, Vera Cruz, Mexico.     

Research Grants and Awards

American Philosophical Society, Franklin Research Grant, 2016

J.C. Harrington Award in Historical Archaeology, 2014

Elected Member, American Antiquarian Society, Worchester, Massachusetts, 2013

David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, Library Scholars Grant, 2006

Unveiling the Cultural Landscape of a Cuban Coffee Plantation,” Faculty Research Grant, Program in Latin America and Caribbean (PLACA), 2004

“Coffee in Cuba's Plantation Economy, 1800-1860,” New York Historical Society Fellowship, 2003

H. John Heinz Family III Fund Grant Program for Latin American Archaeology for “Slavery on a Cuban Coffee Plantation: An Archaeological Investigation, 2002.   

Distinguished Lecturer Award, Archaeology Division, American Anthropological Association, 1999.

Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Grant for “Legacy of Afro-Cuban Cabildos: Ethnic Formations and Contemporary Cultural Practices,” (with Michael Mason), 1997.

Selected Professional Activities

Museum Exhibitions:  

African Voices, Long-Term exhibition, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Content Development Team for exhibit, 1994-1998, opened 1999.

Conflict and Transcendence: African-American Art in South Carolina, Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC.1992 (essayist for catalogue).

Pitchers, Pots & Pipkins: Clues to Plantation Life. National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, February to July, 1992 (Co-curator  with Mark Bograd).

Before Freedom Came: African American Life in the Antebellum South. The Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia, July to December, 1991 (Consultant  and Essayist for catalogue).

“Links In a Chain”: The Significance of Black Labor. Charleston Museum,  Charleston, South Carolina, July 1991 to February 1992 (Guest Curator).

Industry, Skill, Ingenuity” Southern Black Expositions, 1880-1915. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, February to  March, 1988 (Curator).

Social Fabric South Carolina Traditional Quilts. McKissick Museums, University of South Carolina, April to September, 1985 (Consultant and Essayist for catalogue).

Recent Invited Lectures

Invited Lectures and Seminars

Transatlantic Slavery and Human Rights: Are Apologies and Memorialization Enough? Department of Anthropology, SUNY Binghamton, April 24, 2015. 

Behind a wall enclosure: an archaeology of slavery in Cuba, Campus Museu Nacional / UFRJ, Departamento de Antropologia, São Cristóvão, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 19, 2012.

Investigating Plantations, and Behind a wall enclosure: an archaeology of slavery in Cuban at UFPE - Departamento de Arqueologia, Campus Universitário, Recife Pernambuco, Brazil, two, three-hour seminars presented respectively on March 12 and 14, 2012.

Behind a wall enclosure: an archaeology of slavery on a Cuban coffee plantation, Stanford Archaeology Center, Archaeology Today Workshop Series,  Stanford University, Palo Alto, Ca.,  February 9, 2012.

Rethinking the archaeology of the Gullah-Geechee, Center for Archaeological Sciences University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, April 10, 2008.

Reclaiming the Gullah-Geechee Past:  Archaeology of African-American heritage on Georgia Coast, Sadie Alexander Lecture Series, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, October 20, 2008.

Plantation buildings and spatial layout on Cuban Coffee Plantations, Harpur College Dean Workshop “Built Environments of Atlantic Slavery,” Fernand Braudel Center, SUNY Binghamton, April 27-28, 2007.

Politics and Heritage: The Archaeology of Slavery at a Cuban Coffee, Distinguished Scholar Lecture Program, St Mary's College, St. Mary City, Maryland, October, 2007.  

Comparative Archaeologies of Slavery: Western Cuba and the Southeastern US, “Abolition, 2007: Archeology and Heritage of Africans in the New World,” Institute of Archaeology,  University College London, London, UK, March 31, 2007.

“Slavery on a Cuban Coffee Plantation” and “¿Conucos en los cafetales?: Slave Provision Gardens and Cuban Coffee Plantations?” Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Lecture Series Race in Anthropology, October 26-27, 2006.

“Plantation Archaeology in Cuba and United States,” Rhodes College, Memphis Tennessee, Lecture Series, October 25, 2006.


Select Public Lectures:

Archaeology at Butler Island Plantation, presentation at the third annual Butler Island Plantation Homecoming Festival, Darien, Georgia, October 17, 2014.

What Archaeology Can Teach Us about Gullah-Geechee Culture, Lecture Series Exploring Slavery, Emancipation, and African-American Experience in Savannah and Southeast Georgia funded by National Endowment for the Humanities, Savannah State University, November 17, 2011.

Slavery in the American Experience: An archaeological perspective, Frank Lloyd Manor Site, Long Island, N.Y. sponsored by Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, July 12, 2008.

Archaeology of Afro-Latin America and the Prospects for Puerto Rico, Keynote Lecture for Archaeology Month, State Historic Preservation Office of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico, November 16, 2006.

Professional Service

Professional Boards and Committees

Advisory Committee for Interpreting African-American History on Ossabaw Island, Georgia, for the Ossabaw Island Foundation, 2006-2008.

Peer Review Committee for African Burial Ground Archaeology Report, 2004-2006

Founding Board Member South Atlantic Regional Humanities Center (SARHC), Charlottesville, Virginia, 2001-2008.

Peer Review Committee for National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grants, September 16, 1999.

Advisory Committee for the African-American Boston Saloon Archaeological Project, Virginia City, Nevada, 1999-2000.

Member of Ethics Committee, Society for Historical Archaeology, 1999-2002

Planning Committee for National Park Service Theme Study for Gullah-Geechee, 1998.

Planning Committee for Program in Black Culture, Smithsonian Institution for  Black History Month Program,1998, “The Middle Passage: Memory, History, and Metaphor” held February 3-6, 1999.

Advisory Board Member, J. Raymond Williams Memorial Scholarship in Public Archaeology, University of South Florida, 1996-1998.

Founding co-Chair (with Elizabeth Scott) of Gender and Minority Affairs Committee, Society for Historical Archaeology, 1994-1996.

General Council of Pan-African Association of Prehistory and Related Issues, 1995-1997

Board of Directors, Society for Historical Archaeology, 1993-1995.

Board of Director, Anthropological Society of Washington, 1993-1995

Board of Directors, Southeastern Archaeological Conference, 1988-1992

Vice President, Council of Professional Archaeologists of South Carolina, 1984-1985.

Editorial Work

Editorial Board, Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage, 2011-

Editorial Advisory Board for World of a Slave: Encyclopedia of Material Life of Slaves in the United States. Ed. Martha B. Katz-Hyman and Kym S. Rice, Greenwood Press, 2009-2010, published  2011.

Consejo Científico (Scientific Advisory Board) for the Boletín, Gabinete de Arqueología, Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba, 2007-2010

Editorial Board, Archaeologies: Journal for the World Archaeological Congress, 2005-2014.

Associate Editor for Anthropology/Archaeology the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences 2nd edition, 9 volumes Gale/MacMillian Publishers, New York, 2004-2007. Published, 2008. 

Editorial Board, International Journal of Historical Archaeology, Springer Publishers, New York, 1995-2005.

Advisory Board for the Oxford University Press, Oxford Companionto Archaeology, a single volume work containing 700 alphabetically arranged entries, published in 1996, 1992-1993.

Founding Editor, African American Archaeology: Newsletter of the African American Archaeology Network, 1990-1993 (now known as the African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter