Enslaved women, foodways, and identity formation : the archaeology of Habitation La Mahaudière, Guadeloupe, circa late-18th century to mid-19th century



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The most influential communities in modern Caribbean history have been the enslaved Africans and their descendant populations. As such, historical archaeology in the Caribbean has often focused on black lifeways under British, Dutch, and Spanish colonial powers. The utilization of various research strategies have included but not restricted to ethnoarchaeology, historical documents, material culture, oral history sources, settlement patterns, stable isotopic study, and burial practices. As one of the first historical faunal studies of the French Antilles, my work attempts to provide a contribution to the study of slave foodways. This dissertation examines the interrelationship between foodways and identity formation during the early modern French transatlantic expansion. My material evidence, exemplified via faunal remains, was retrieved from the slave village at Habitation La Mahaudière, once a prosperous sugar plantation in Guadeloupe established during the mid-18th century, whose domestic occupation spanned over 150 years and is currently a well-preserved archaeological site that offers the potential for understanding diachronic social and cultural processes of the French plantation system. My zooarchaeological results in combination with primary and secondary sources that discuss colonial subsistence practices will assist in establishing how slave foodways and French Antillean identity is created by and shaped one another.