The Coder House: Captivity and Freedom


As part of an long-term field research project examining thearchaeology of captivity and freedom in early New York, Prof. Chris Matthews, a member of the Anthropology Department at Hofstra University who is also amember of the CHAS Advisory Board, has been working at the Coder House withseveral Montclair State students in Anthropology, Classics, and Archaeology to analyze ceramic and faunal remains from the King Manor site located in Jamaica, Queens.

King Manor was the early 19th century home of Rufus King. An anti-slavery advocate, Mr. King employed only free laborers at the site. The materials being analyzed at the lab date to the era before the King family moved to the site when the household did include a number of enslaved Africans laborers. The analysis islooking at spatial distributions of work areas during the periods of slavery and freedom to better understand the dynamic relations between masters and laborers that emerged with emancipation. We are also looking for signs of African-derived cultural practices that may provide new details on the life of enslaved laborers.

Looking through findings inside the bond house