Enslaved African conjure and ritual deposits on the Hume Plantation, South Carolina

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Abstract

Twenty-one ritual deposits have been found in and around cabin sites along the slave street on the former Hume Plantation on Cat Island, South Carolina. Earliest deposits date back to the eighteenth century; however, evidence suggests ritual activity, known as conjure practices or hoodoo, continued after the Civil War among the emancipated Africans who chose to stay. The aim of this article is to present an alternative viewpoint that not all interpretations of enslaved African ritual activity or repurposed artifacts must be viewed through the lens of “resistance” but can be an expression of African agency to define new and multivariant spiritualties in light of changing identities, historical contexts, and value systems. These adaptations incorporated notions of social class and hierarchy as well as expanded spiritual symbolism from exposure to and interaction with Europeans and Native Americans. The result was a formation of religious syncretism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-164
Number of pages34
JournalNorth American Archaeologist
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

Keywords

  • conjure
  • enslaved Africans
  • hoodoo
  • Native Americans
  • ritual deposits
  • South Carolina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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