Lynsey Bates

Based on comparative, data-driven analysis, my dissertation project explores variation in slave experience both regionally and chronologically by examining the environmental and historical factors that influenced this variation. These factors indicate the ways in which slaves exploited the conditions of bondage to their advantage. My project examines one particular instance of the slave experience, the provision ground system instituted in Jamaica during the slavery period (1750 – 1834). I draw on cartographic, documentary, and archaeological evidence to model surplus cultivation and market participation by enslaved people living and working on large Jamaican sugar estates. In this way, I address whether this system varies across the island and over time, and suggest that the potential variability informs our understanding of slave strategies of survival.

Research Interests:

the archaeology of slavery; spatial analysis; historical anthropology of the Caribbean and American South; plantation landscapes; material culture form and decoration; subsistence and surplus agriculture; market access, consumption and consumer choice; digitization and standardization of archaeological data; statistical analysis.


“ ‘The Landscape Cannot Be Said to Be Really Perfect’: A Comparative Investigation of Plantation Spatial Organization on Two British Colonial Sugar Estates.” In The Archaeology of Slavery: A Comparative Approach to Captivity and Coercion, edited by Lydia W. Marshall. Carbondale, Illinois: Center for Archaeological Investigations, 2014.


Roots of Empire: Archaeologies of Slavery and Freedom in the Caribbean, editor with John M. Chenoweth and James A. Delle (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, forthcoming).