Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationMontclair State U.
Grant numberGr. 9347
Approve DateOctober 5, 2016
Project TitleMatthews, Dr. Christopher, Montclair State U., Montclair, NJ - To aid research on 'From Creole Synthesis to Racial Modernity: An Archaeology of Culture Change in the Native and African American Community in Setauket, New York'
CHRISTOPHER N. MATTHEWS, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey, received a grant in October 2016 to aid research on ‘From Creole Synthesis to Racial Modernity: An Archaeology of Culture Change in the Native and African American Community in Setauket, New York.’ Funding provided support for in-depth analyses of documentary data and excavated material culture from two 19th-century household sites. Altogether this study shows how a small community of color became established and survived an increasingly hostile racial atmosphere over the course of the 1800s. Evidence of shell fishing and wild food collection as well as lithic tool production in the early 19th century suggest a community that was well-adapted to the local environment and built on foundations connected to their Native American ancestry. Documentation of displacement by residential racial segregation and the loss of access to shoreline and forest resource collection sites shows how this initial period of security gave way to a more difficult period that characterized by wage labor, debt, and the loss of heritage. Stories of resilience in the form of remembering stone tool use, marketing cultural knowledge through clambakes, and the formation of an active community-based preservation and heritage movement help to illustrate why this community, despite its history of struggle, still survives.