The Political Ecology of Plantations from the Ground Up

Sarah E. Oas*, Mark W. Hauser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Little work has been done to examine the political ecology and environmental legacy of sugar colonies in the Caribbean. Material excavated from the Morne Patate plantation in southern Dominica occupied from the late seventeenth to mid-nineteenth century offer a perfect opportunity to examine the intersections between Caribbean colonial enterprises and the domestic economises of enslaved households. Analysis of macrobotanical remains associated with the houses, gardens, and provision grounds of the enslaved inhabitants at Morne Patate reveal a mixture of African, American, and European cereals, fruits, and vegetables. Maize (Zea mays) dominates the assemblage, and the recovery of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and millet (Pennisetum glaucum) indicate a concern with high yield cereals and perhaps experimentation with producing crops in a range of local microenvironments. Remains of several coffee cherries (Coffea sp.) from a household context suggest that the enslaved inhabitants at Morne Patate were producing some amount of coffee either for personal consumption or possibly for sale at local markets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-12
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Archaeology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018


  • Archaeobotany
  • Caribbean
  • coffee
  • food
  • horticulture
  • sugar plantations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Political Ecology of Plantations from the Ground Up'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this