Term of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Sciences (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Ryan McNutt

Committee Member 1

Sue Moore

Committee Member 2

Matthew Compton


Archaeologists have long struggled with understanding the relationship between material culture and actual, emic identity. Early practitioners assumed that there was a one-to-one correspondence between the two and that a suite of artifacts recovered archaeologically could be matched with a specific ethnic affiliation or peoples that produced and utilized those artifacts. Later generations of archaeologists challenged this view by demonstrating how mutable and historically situated identity is, and how often material culture crosscuts ethnic boundaries. Historical archaeologists have played a central role in this debate. In this thesis, I examine 38JA1138, a largely undocumented late eighteenth-century site in Jasper County, South Carolina in an attempt to identify the site’s former inhabitants. The ability to identify the inhabitants of this site is possible because in the social context of Colonial South Carolina, access to resources, consumption practices and use of space were circumscribed by an individual’s racial and legal status. Material culture and the resulting archaeological record are in turn shaped by these social processes. By examining artifact patterning, ethnic markers, food remains, and the site’s landscape I attempt to identify the former inhabitants of 38JA1138.

Research Data and Supplementary Material