Parting Ways (Plymouth, Massachusetts)

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Parting Ways Archeological District
PlymouthMA PartingWays Detail.jpg
Location Plymouth, Massachusetts
Governing body Local government
NRHP Reference # 79000367[1]
Added to NRHP April 19, 1979

Parting Ways was an African-American settlement of freedmen on Route 80 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, near the Plymouth/Kingston town line. Other names for Parting Ways include the Parting Ways Archeological District and the Parting Ways New Guinea Settlement.[2] It was founded on 94 acres (380,000 m2) by four former slaves who fought in the American Revolutionary War: Cato Howe, Prince Goodwin, Plato Turner, and Quamony Quash and their families. They were granted the land and their freedom by the Massachusetts courts due to their service in the war. Part of this land was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 19, 1979.[1]

The site consists of a cemetery, trash middens, and the foundations of the families' houses. This site was excavated in the middle 1970s by an archaeological team headed by Dr. James Deetz, a professor of anthropology at Brown University and assistant director at Plimoth Plantation. In the chapter entitled, "Parting Ways," in his 1977 book, In Small Things Forgotten, Deetz demonstrates that 18th and early 19th century African Americans retained certain ethnically-distinctive folkways of African origin. Their houses were arranged in the distinctive shotgun house style, and their meat was butchered by chopping, whereas their white neighbors butchered by sawing across the bones. Deetz' shotgun house interpretation of the extremely limited evidence - two rooms that "may or may not have been unified" - has been challenged as "premature".[3] [4]

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  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ The New Guinea Settlement
  3. ^ Deetz, James (1996) [1977]. In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life (expanded and revised ed.). New York: Doubleday. pp. 222–223. ISBN 978-0385483995. Retrieved 14 November 2014. . Illustration, The Plymouth Colony Archive Project
  4. ^ Schuyler, Robert L. (July 1980). "REVIEW: In Small Things Forgotten, The Archaeology of Early American Life by James Deetz". American Antiquity 45 (3): 643–645. doi:10.2307/279893. Retrieved 14 November 2014.   – via JSTOR (subscription required)

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