Excavating Community in African American New England: The Beman Triangle, CT


Location: Middletown, Connecticut, United States

Season: 
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 to Thursday, June 27, 2013

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Program Type

Field school

Affiliation:

Wesleyan University

Project Director:

Sarah K. Croucher, Wesleyan University

Project Description

The Beman Triangle fieldschool at Wesleyan University provides the opportunity for training in historical archaeology through the excavation of a mid-nineteenth century property owning African American community. We will be working closely with the descendant AME Zion Community, and training will also include methods and theory in community archaeology.

The project focus is on a triangle of land known today as the Beman Triangle, primarily after Leverett Beman, the son of the first pastor of the AME Zion Church in Middletown. In 1847 Leverett had this area of land surveyed. He and and another household tied to the Church were already in residence in the neighborhood; the community clearly had plans to form a neighborhood of property owners. This dream was achieved, with multiple houses built through the remainder of the nineteenth century. The neighborhood was the center of political and religious activity. Clarissa Beman, wife of Leverett, founded the Middletown Colored Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1834. Leverett's brother, Amos Beman, became pastor of the Temple Street Congregational Church in New Haven, and often represented Connecticut at national anti-slavery conventions.

The 2013 fieldschool offers the opportunity to investigate the daily life of this politically active community. We will be targeting excavations behind two houses on Vine Street during our fieldwork, including the home of Menominee Miami, listed in the 1860 census as a "quack doctor." Initial excavations in 2012 suggest that there are significant numbers of healthcare related artifacts associated with the site. Students will learn excavation skills and lab analysis of historic artifacts. By the end of the session, students will write a short project about findings from the excavation or will pursue a project relating to community archaeology and public outreach. Optional trips will also be offered to other field projects and museums in the area.

As this fieldschool is offered as part of Wesleyan University's summer session, students may also register to take a non-archaeology class concurrently with the fieldschool and will be part of a small summer school community on the Wesleyan campus.

Period(s) of Occupation: Historical Archaeology

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Registered students must complete the month-long season

Experience required: 
None

Room and Board Arrangements

<p>Students are offered the option of on-campus rooms. The cost is <span id="sobi2Details_field_room_board">$744 for an air-conditioned double room and $930 for an air-conditioned single room.</span></p> <p><span>Students may also find alternative housing options in the Middletown area. </span></p>
Cost: 
$744 (full fieldschool)

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Wesleyan University
Number of credits offered 1 Wesleyan Credit (equivalent to 4 credit hours)
Tuition: 
$2,800 (option of taking another Wesleyan summer session class at the same time)

Location

Contact Information
Sarah Croucher
Wesleyan University, Anthropology Department
Middletown
CT
United States
06459