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Labor and Agricultural Production at Sylvester Manor Plantation, Shelter Island, New York

Abstract

Archaeological and historical research on Sylvester Manor, Shelter Island, New York, provides insight into the productive strategies and labor organization of a northern agricultural plantation. Between 1652 and 1693, Sylvester Manor produced and shipped food, animals, and other provisions to a sugar plantation on Barbados. This New York plantation was a commercial-scale operation, based on the labor of enslaved Africans and free Native Americans. Plant and animal remains recovered from the archaeological excavations at the site provide evidence of the plantation’s products and insights into the various daily agricultural tasks that comprised the work of the plantation. The choice of crops and animals, seasonal agricultural cycles, cultural and gendered conceptions of labor tasks, and the power dynamics inherent in multicultural plantation settings all structured the agricultural work of the plantation.

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Correspondence to Heather B. Trigg.

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Trigg, H.B., Landon, D.B. Labor and Agricultural Production at Sylvester Manor Plantation, Shelter Island, New York. Hist Arch 44, 36–53 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03376802

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