By Joseph A. Downer

Hallowed Ground, Sacred Place: The Slave Cemetery At George Washington’s Mount Vernon And The Cultural Landscapes Of The Enslaved

This thesis focuses on the archaeological study of the Slave Cemetery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Here, methodological and theoretical principles are utilized to study the area that many enslaved workers call their final resting place. Through the use of this space, it is hypothesized that Mount Vernon’s enslaved community practiced distinct traditions, instilling in that spot a sense of place, and reinforcing their individual and communal human identities. This thesis will also investigate the cemetery within its broader regional and cultural contexts, to attain a better understanding of the death rituals and culturally resistant activates that slaves at Mount Vernon used in their day-to-day battle against the system that held them in bondage.

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