Original Paper

International Journal of Historical Archaeology

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 60-97

First online:

The Political Economy of Exile in the Great Dismal Swamp

  • Daniel O. SayersAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, College of William and Mary Email author 
  • , P. Brendan BurkeAffiliated withACR Consultants
  • , Aaron M. HenryAffiliated withThe Archaeological and Historical Conservancy of South Florida

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The Great Dismal Swamp in North Carolina and Virginia has a history of profound significance to scholars and historians of North American diasporas. Between 1630 and 1865, thousands of maroons, enslaved canal company laborers, and disenfranchised Native Americans lived within this morass and formed communities that were connected through a dynamic swamp-wide political economy. The Great Dismal Swamp Landscape Study has been initiated to explore the archaeological landscapes of these Diasporans. This essay discusses several aspects of the theoretico-analytical research model that has guided this ongoing project. Also, included are brief explications on the methods and results of the first season of archaeological survey in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.


exiles; maroons North American diasporas remote landscape research models