Download Syllabus (pdf file)

Summer Session A 2017 (May 8-June 16)



Instructor: James M. Davidson, Ph.D.

Graduate Teaching Assistants/Field Supervisors: Amber Grafft Weiss, Liz Ibarrola 

Meeting Times: Monday through Friday, Bulow Plantation, Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park (Ormond Beach, FL)


Office Hours: on site

Course Description:

As part of this archaeological field school, you will receive training in controlled excavation techniques, field survey, instrument mapping, artifact identification, and artifact analysis. All students will be enrolled for nine credit hours.

Readings on Plantation Archaeology (downloadable pdf’s of articles; see below)

Davidson, James M. and Mary Elizabeth Ibarrola
2016       Cabin 1 at the Bulow Plantation (8FL7): Final Results of the 2014 and 2015 University of Florida Archaeological Field Schools at the Bulow Plantation Historic Ruins State Park (Flagler County, FL). Anthropology Department. University of Florida: Gainesville, FL.

O’Sullivan, Rebecca Claire
2012    Out of the Land of Forgetfulness: Archaeological Investigations at Bulow Plantation (8FL7), Flagler County, Florida.  Master’s Thesis. University of South Florida.

Orser, Charles E. Jr.
1998    The Archaeology of the African Diaspora. Annual Review of Anthropology 27:63-82.

Fairbanks, Charles
1974    The Kingsley Slave Cabins in Duval County, Florida, 1968. Conference on Historic Sites Archaeology Papers 7:62-93.

Otto, John Solomon
1980 Race and Class on Antebellum Plantations. In Archaeological Perspectives on Ethnicity in America: Afro-American and Asian American Culture History, edited by Robert L. Schuyler, pp. 3-13.  Baywood Publishing Co, Farmingdale, NY.

Fairbanks, Charles H.
1984    The Plantation Archaeology of the Southeastern Coast. Historical Archaeology 18 (1):1-14.

Wheaton, Thomas R. and Patrick H. Garrow
1985 Acculturation and the Archaeological Record in the Carolina Lowcountry. In The Archaeology of Slavery and Plantation Life, edited by Theresa Singleton, pp. 239-269. Academic Press, Orlando, FL.

Potter, Parker B. Jr.
1991 What is the Use of Plantation Archaeology? Historical Archaeology 25(3):94-107.

Howson, Jeane E.
1990 Social Relations and Material Culture: A Critique of the Archaeology of Plantation Slavery. Historical Archaeology 24(4):78-91.

Babson, David W.
1990 The Archaeology of Racism and Ethnicity on Southern Plantations. Historical Archaeology 24(4):20-28.

Orser, Charles E. Jr.
1994 The Archaeology of African-American Slave Religion in the Antebellum South. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 4 (1):33-45.

Young, Amy
1996 Archaeological Evidence of African-Style Ritual and Healing Practices in the Upland South. Tennessee Anthropologist 21(2):139-155.

Russell, Aaron E.
1997 Material Culture and African-American Spirituality at the Hermitage. Historical Archaeology 31(2):63-80.

Fennell, Christopher C.
2003  Group Identity, Individual Creativity, and Symbolic Generation in a Bakongo Diaspora. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 7(1):1-31.

Davidson, James M.
2004 Rituals Captured in Context and Time: Charm Use in North Dallas Freedman’s Town (1869-1907), Dallas, Texas. Historical Archaeology 38(2):22-54.

Franklin, Maria
1997 “Power to the People”: Sociopolitics and the Archaeology of Black Americans.    Historical Archaeology 31(3):36-50.

Epperson, Terrence W.
2004 Critical Race Theory and the Archaeology of the African Diaspora. Historical Archaeology 38(1):101-108.


Food and Misc Supplies Fee:

A $800 check or money order from each student enrolled in the field school will be required to cover all lodging, food costs, plastic artifact bags, gasoline for the department van, film purchasing and film processing, cleaning costs for the residences, and miscellaneous supplies. 

You cannot participate in the field school until that fee has been paid.



Breakfast will be largely self service, and consist of cold cereal, breakfast bars, fruit, milk, juice, etc.

Lunch will typically be sandwiches or similar easy to prepare food.

Dinner will be the main meal, and will be a hot dish with sides. 

We will likely have some vegetarians on the crew, so each dinner will have a veggie option.  The larder/kitchen will be accessible for evening snacks, etc. 


will consist of rented residences in the vicinity of the park, near modern day Ormond Beach. Although we will only work weekdays, you have the option to stay at the field school residence on weekends.    


Summers are hot in Florida, and especially so when digging all day in the sun.  The best excavation attire is light, loose summer style clothing.  Since we are on a state park in a highly visible location where tourists will be observing our work, socially inappropriate or revealing clothing cannot be worn.  You will need closed-toe shoes, like tennis shoes or work boots; you cannot dig in sandals.   

 Field Equipment and supplies

You will be responsible for supplying:

Personal Water bottle or canteen, Gloves, Kneeling pad (if desired), Insect repellent, Sunscreen, Hat, rain poncho or rain coat; any prescription or over-the-counter medications that you take on a routine or daily basis.


Optional Field equipment:

We will supply all basic excavation equipment for use during the field school.

But you may wish to purchase the following equipment to begin building your own “dig kit”:

 Marshalltown Trowel (5 inch pointing); Compass (orienteering style; liquid filled, with azimuth ring); Folding rule (metric); Tape measure (3 meters; locking; metric); Root clippers; Line level (spirit level); Camera (film or digital, for personal use).




Typical Field School Schedule:


Typical week: Monday thru Friday

 7:00 to 7:30 am Breakfast

 7:30 am Leave for site

10:00 to 10:15 am Break

12:00 to 12:30 pm Lunch

3:30 to 4:00 pm End of Work

 Artifact processing (some nights) 5:30 to 6:30 pm

 Dinner 7:00 to 8:00 pm

Lecture 6:00 to 7:00 pm (some nights)

Duty assignments:

1 to 2 students per day for kitchen detail (food prep; clean up)




Commuting Schedule (for those riding in the University Van) :

First week: Monday, May 8 - leave from Univ of Florida campus by circa noon

Friday -- Leave from Bulow to UF campus 4:00 pm (arrival circa 6:00 pm)


All other weeks:

Return to Bulow from Univ. of Florida campus; depart Sundays at circa 4:00 pm.      

Fridays -- Leave from Bulow to UF campus 4:00 pm (arrival circa 6:00 pm)




Participation in all lab and field sessions: 100%

If one or more written assignments or quizzes are assigned or administered, they will each count as 10% of the final grade.

 A final letter grade will be assigned at the end of the semester, according to this scale:

A         (93-100%)

A-        (90-92%)

B+       (88-89%)

B         (83-87%)

B-        (80-82%)

C+       (78-79%)

C         (73-77%)

C-        (70-72%)

D+       (68-69%)

D         (63-67%)

D-        (60-62%)

E          (59% or below)


Attendance:    Regular attendance is required.  Any unexcused absences will detract from the student’s final grade.