FIELDWORK

Liberia’s unique Atlantic-era history, has a material signature that has yet to be thoroughly studied archaeologically. Two successive field seasons (2018 and 2019) marked the first archaeological investigations of settlement sites in Liberia. The focus of archaeological research in 2018 and 2019 was the Barbadian-settled township of Crozierville, Montserrado County - located upriver from Monrovia along the St. Paul River. In addition to Crozierville, preliminary surveys and salvage excavations have been undertaken at the settlements of Edina, Grand Bassa County (established 1832) and Providence Island, Montserrado County (established 1822).

The research has thus far focused on sites located along or in close proximity to the coast associated with the nineteenth-century Back-to-Africa movement. Such sites have tremendous potential to contribute to our understanding of the African Diaspora as well as other Atlantic processes associated with colonialism, race, and freedom making as abolitionist movements were taking hold in the Americas and along the West African coast (i.e. Sierra Leone and Gambia). More locally, these sites occupy precarious and potentially contentious places on the landscape, underlying how an emerging historical archaeology in Liberia must necessarily confront the post-conflict challenges associated with memory and politics.