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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Jacksonville in Duval County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

African Identity

African Identity and Archaeology at Kingsley Plantation

 

—African Identity Discovered Through Archaeology —

 
African Identity Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, June 26, 2010
1. African Identity Marker
Inscription. Artifacts recovered by archaeologists provide clues as to who these enslaved African men, women and children were. This is most easily recognized within the realm of spirituality or religion, which is resistant to change. However, the physical remains of such practices are extremely subtle.

Personal Charms
Blue Beads in doorway of cabins

There is a belief in many African cultures that beads have supernatural powers and can be worn to provide protection from harm. Archaeologists recovered several blue beads from two slave cabins. The beads varied in shape and size, suggesting that they were selected specifically for their color. Evidence from other antebellum plantations suggests that the color blue had spiritual or religious meaning.

House Charms
Iron hoe at back doors of cabins (left)

The Ibo have a strong tradition of house charms. Iron is often buried to prevent any harm from entering the house. In 2006 an agricultural hoe was found buried at the back doorway of a cabin. A similar placement of a hoe, axe blade, and other iron objects was found at the back door of a cabin in 1968. Archaeologists believe the placement of these objects was intentional.

River pebbles and small cobbles (right)

The Ibo and other African cultures saw the
African Identity Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, June 26, 2010
2. African Identity Marker
View of the historical marker (seen on the right) situated near the northern end of the row of slave cabins.
potential of natural objects to be spiritually charged, and often collected objects such as smooth stones to be used as house charms.

Animal Sacrifice
Chicken sacrifice buried in floor of cabin / Deer leg buried in doorway of cabin.

The most spectacular find relating to African spirituality was the remains of a chicken found under the floor of a slave cabin. The chicken was buried with an unbroken egg, a glass bead, and a piece of iron.

Animal sacrifice was practiced by some cultures in Africa to mark births and deaths, and as offering to specific deities. This chicken may have been sacrificed to appease earth spirits disturbed during the initial construction of the cabin. The partial deer leg buried in the doorway of an adjacent cabin may be a similar offering.

Despite being stolen from their former world through enslavement, the men, women, and children who lived at this plantation retained their African traditions. Archaeology provides a window into how the slaves at Kingsley Plantation maintained their African identity.
 
Erected by National Park Service, University of Florida, and Florida Public Archaeology.
 
Location. 30° 26.212′ N, 81° 26.312′ W. Marker is near Jacksonville, Florida, in Duval
African Identity Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, June 26, 2010
3. African Identity Marker
View of the northern row of slave cabins, with the historical marker being located at the northern end of this row.
County. Marker is on Palmetto Avenue 2.1 miles from Fort George Road, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. This historical marker is located in a national park. The historical marker is in a very remote area that is reached by traveling a considerable distance on an unpaved dirt road. To get there one must turn north, off of the Florida State Route 1A (Heckscher Road), onto Fort George Road, and then traveling about 0.6 miles to the intersection of Fort George Road and Palmetto Avenue, were you turn north on Palmetto Avenue and travel to the end of this road to reach the historical marker. The turn-off from state route 1A can be identified by the "Kingsley Plantation, Fort George Island Visitor Center" sign that is situated right at the turnoff point. Marker is in this post office area: Jacksonville FL 32226, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named African Identity (here, next to this marker); Slave Cabins (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Slave Cabins (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Slave Cabins (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Slave Cabins (about 300
African Identity Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dale K. Benington, June 26, 2010
4. African Identity Marker
View of the roadway sign, located at the turn-off from state route 1A, that marks the way to the Kingsley Plantation.
feet away); a different marker also named Slave Cabins (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named Slave Cabins (about 300 feet away); Slaves Cabins (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jacksonville.
 
Also see . . .
1. Kingsley Plantation. This is a link to information provided by the National Park Service. (Submitted on March 27, 2011, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 

2. Kingsley Plantation. This is a link to information provided by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (Submitted on March 28, 2011, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansSettlements & Settlers
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 1, 2017. This page originally submitted on March 27, 2011, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio. This page has been viewed 610 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 28, 2011, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.
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