International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Archaeological Evidence for the Minor Role of Dairying in Seventeenth Century Barbados
Frederick H. Smith

Archaeological investigations at a mid-seventeenth century urban domestic household site in Bridgetown, Barbados, the island’s capital city and main port, add to our understanding of the culinary practices of British colonists on the early colonial Caribbean frontier. The evidence sheds new light on the way British colonists adapted to an unfamiliar and evolving dietary environment. In particular, the lack of utilitarian ceramic vessels recovered from the site, such as milk pans, milk bowls, and butter pots, show the minor role of local dairy products in early Bridgetown. The small number of utilitarian vessels associated with dairying contrasts sharply with archaeological evidence from early colonial archaeological sites in British North America. Climate, urbanity, and the economic demands of the emerging sugar industry are among the key factors reducing the practice of dairying activities in early colonial Barbados. Evidence for alcohol consumption is also disproportionately higher than British colonial sites elsewhere.

Full Text: PDF