Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Thomas J. Pluckhahn, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Antoinette Jackson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Diane Wallman, Ph.D.


Yulee, heritage, slavery, public archaeology, public history, plantation archaeology


U.S. Senator David Levy Yulee’s Margarita sugar plantation flourished from 1851 to 1864 in Homosassa, Citrus County, Florida. The plantation was abandoned in 1864 and memory of its precise location slowly faded, as the physical evidence of its existence deteriorated. Today, the only plantation structure known to be still standing is the sugar mill, preserved as part of the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park (CI124B). The remainder of the plantation, including its boundaries, remains unknown. Perhaps at least partly owing to this absence, the mill’s interpretive signage provides an unfortunate univocal historical interpretation of the site and lacking in both acknowledgement and understanding of the experiences of the enslaved laborers who lived at Margarita.

This thesis research uses archaeological reconnaissance survey and historical research in an attempt to locate the slave quarters in order to shed light on the power structures that existed between planter and enslaved laborer at Margarita. Shovel tests on state, county, and private land surrounding the mill identified two new archaeological sites, including possible remnants of an additional plantation structure, and ruled out for several locations as the site of the former slave quarters. Historical research uncovered additional information about the names of the enslaved laborers and provided more insight into their experiences on the plantation. This work culminates with suggestions for updated State Park interpretive signage, and suggestions for future work.