This paper considers the place of archaeology in the ongoing debate over the nature of slavery in the United States. The focus is on how the concerns of archaeologists intersect with the concerns of contemporary African Americans, especially in terms of the production and consumption of new information on plantation slavery. Although close links between archaeology and the African-American community should be promoted at every opportunity, archaeologists should avoid engagement with contemporary social agendas in carrying out research and in interpreting evidence. Archaeology's standing with academic and popular audiences can only be maintained by sticking with the discipline's essential mission: to present fresh information on the past.
"Is It Futile to Try and Be Useful? Historical Archaeology and the African-American Experience,"
Northeast Historical Archaeology:
23, Article 1.
Available at: http://orb.binghamton.edu/neha/vol23/iss1/1