Best Farm Slave Village: Spatial Hierarchy

Spatial Hieararchy and Organization

The six structures were laid out in a precise fashion; each chimney foundation is 66 feet apart and all of the structures are on the same axis as the existing historic buildings. Each building is estimated to be 20 feet wide by 34 feet long.

Archeologists believe the layout of the site was precisely planned. The main house occupies the highest point on the landscape, and both it and the secondary dwelling (which may have housed an overseer) have an unobstructed view of the slave village and surrounding fields.

The precise physical layout of the site allowed the Vincendières to "keep an eye on" their slaves, reinforcing their physical and psychological power over the enslaved population. This type of spatial organization and uniformity of design can be seen as a way for slaveholders to control and manipulate the enslaved population. By controlling house size, location and construction, a plantation owner could influence the comfort level, health, and relationships among their enslaved laborers. This arrangement suggests a conscious effort to maintain order and hierarchy on the plantation.

Below, a plan view of the slave village illustrates how the structures were arranged:

 
Conceptual Plan for Slave Village
As seen in the plan view of the slave village above, the structures are laid out in a linear fashion and evenly spaced. Six structures have been located, labeled A-F above, and have hearths on the south gable end with yard enclosures on the east side of the structure.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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