Master of Arts (M.A.)
Degree Granting Department
Thomas J. Pluckhahn, Ph.D.
Antoinette T. Jackson, Ph.D.
Diane Wallman, Ph.D.
African-American Archaeology, Anarchist Archaeological Theory, Historical Archaeology, Post-Emancipation Archaeology
The Gullah Geechee are descendants of enslaved Africans who worked on the island coastal plantations of Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Northern Florida. The Gullah Geechee are known for having retained African cultural connections and practices in the United States through intergenerational knowledge transmission. On Sapelo Island, Georgia, during their 250 years on the island a least 15 historic communities have been acknowledged as representative of their distinct presence on the island. Hog Hammock which was established in 1878, is the last intact Gullah Geechee owned community, due to forced abandonment of the other communities during the early 1950s. Today, there are only 40 Geechee members in Hog Hammock and the remainder of the island now belongs to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
For this thesis research, archaeological reconnaissance survey, historical research, early 20th century maps, and LiDAR data were used to locate, identify, and record the house sites associated with five post-bellum communities that were occupied prior to forced removal. The data from this survey create a locational record for the families of Geechee residents as well as to guide mostly state-owned land management. I use the site data to interpret post-emancipation settlement patterns and daily life on Sapelo Island. Supplemental interviews with Geechee island residents highlight the significance of unresolved displacement, newcomers to the island, and the importance of historical and cultural resources to the community.
Scholar Commons Citation
Witcher, Colette D., "Our Story, Our Homeland, Our Legacy: Settlement Patterns of The Geechee at Sapelo Island Georgia, From 1860 To 1950" (2021). USF Tampa Graduate Theses and Dissertations.