Excavation archives: Mapping enslaved people and locating their living quarters in New Brunswick’s Loyalist landscape

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University of New Brunswick


This thesis challenges the problematic national narrative of Canada’s alleged innocence in Atlantic slavery by interrogating the practice of slavery in New Brunswick’s Loyalist landscape between 1783 and 1834. Although there have been significant contributions to the study of Canadian slavery in the past several decades, there has been a lack of archaeological studies on the topic. This thesis expands archaeological research on slavery and locates, documents, and analyses seven sites used as living quarters by enslaved people in New Brunswick. Using a historical-archaeological approach, this thesis reveals important insights into the working and living conditions of enslaved people, including their labour skills, experiences of abuse, forced dislocations, community and familial bonds, and acts of resistance. This thesis illustrates that we can better understand the nature of slavery in New Brunswick by combining the historical analysis of archival records with the archaeological mapping and surveying of sites of enslavement.