Uncommon Ground

Archaeology and Early African America, 1650-1800


Winner of the Southern Anthropological Society's prestigious James Mooney Award, Uncommon Ground takes a unique archaeological approach to examining early African American life. Ferguson shows how black pioneers worked within the bars of bondage to shape their distinct identity and lay a rich foundation for the multicultural adjustments that became colonial America.Through pre-Revolutionary period artifacts gathered from plantations and urban slave communities, Ferguson integrates folklore, history, and research to reveal how these enslaved people actually lived. Impeccably researched and beautifully written.
  • Smithsonian; January 2012
  • ISBN: 9781588343581
  • Read online, or download in secure EPUB format
  • Title: Uncommon Ground
  • Author: Leland Ferguson
  • Imprint: Smithsonian Books

In The Press

“The uncommon ground in the title of Ferguson's highly provocative book is that which yields up evidence of African Americans during the Pre-Revolutionary period. The discussion of archaelogocial findings that elucidate how these enslaved people actually lived is so surprisingly engaging and accessible that at times this reads like a detective story, with one tantalizing clue leading the author to yet another.”—Publishers Weekly

“Fascinating stuff . . . highly recommended.”—Library Journal

“An eloquent book that is both moving and scholarly.”—American Anthropologist

“A major analytical achievement. Through its bold proposition that slaves enjoyed ‘ideological power,’ [Uncommon Ground] offers a new and different model for analyzing plantation social relations.”—American Historical Review

About The Author

Leland Ferguson is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.