Gender, Activity Areas, and Homelots in the 17th-Century Chesapeake Region


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Category: .
Volume: 25
Number: 4
Year: 1991
Summary: The colonial enterprise in the Chesapeake Tidewater region was first and foremost economic in nature, with the household as its primary unit of tobacco production. Each household, for the most part comprised of both women and men, occupied a homelot surrounded by fields. The economic roles of women and men on the homelot are most easily seen in the archaeological record in terms of activity areas, and it is from such a vantage point that an ethnography of 17th-century gender roles can be approached. Activity areas are documented for three 17th-century homelot sites from two tobacco plantations in southern Maryland with the aid of computer-assisted simulation maps of plow zone artifacts. The range of womens and mens activities and their spatial organization are related to differences in household wealth and to the structure of the colonial economy.