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Slaveholding plantations, usually thought of as uniquely Southern institutions, were deeply rooted in the fabric of "free" states of the North as well, new archaeological studies are showing.
The hidden history of Northern plantations and their slaves is emerging --- one shovelful of soil at a time --- from excavations in and around historic manor houses in Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. From bits of china, kitchen utensils, tools, buttons and personal items, archaeologists are getting glimpses of a chapter of America's past that written histories have either ignored or forgotten.
Most Northern states abolished slavery before the Civil War. But recent excavations show that during the late 1700s and early 1800s, many of what later came to be called manors and landed estates were full-fledged plantations that held African-American slaves under conditions similar to those in the South. ...