Atlantis Online
November 27, 2020, 05:09:53 am
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: THE SEARCH FOR ATLANTIS IN CUBA
A Report by Andrew Collins
http://www.andrewcollins.com/page/articles/atlantiscuba.htm
 
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

Finding a hidden Africa in 1780s Maryland orangery


Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Finding a hidden Africa in 1780s Maryland orangery  (Read 92 times)
Witch-King
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3478



« on: February 19, 2011, 02:52:23 am »



Greenhouse interior under excavation. Credit: UMD

The building’s fame stems, in large part, from the garden’s description by Frederick Douglass. In his book, Douglass wrote: “Colonel Lloyd kept a large and finely cultivated garden, which afforded almost constant employment for four men, besides the chief gardener,” he recalled two decades after leaving the plantation. “This garden was probably the greatest attraction of the place. During the summer months, people came from far and near – from Baltimore, Easton, and Annapolis – to see it. It abounded in fruits of almost every description, from the hardy apple of the north to the delicate orange of the south.”

Writing in 1855 (“My Bondage and My Freedom“), Douglass identified the greenhouse chief as Mr. McDermott, the “scientific gardener imported from Scotland,” and again, noting his team.
Conclusions

    * Slaves constructed the brick and mortar furnace that regulated temperature in the greenhouse. Evidence for this comes from the excavation’s discovery of a concealed West African-style charm cemented among the bricks at the rear of the furnace where it connects to ductwork – a spot where no one would see it, since spirit practice was conducted in secret. The African America builder of the furnace had placed a stone pestle there to control spirits. This corresponds to the Yoruba practice of placing an old, sharp object from the ground there, Leone says. The pestle was discovered by Drake Witte, who rebuilt the furnace and repaired the heating conduits.
    * Slaves lived in the greenhouse, where they could operate the heating system – the “hypocaust” – and maintain the heat, light and water required by the plants. The team recovered evidence of domestic life in one of the greenhouse’s three rooms. Most recently the area has been used as a potting shed. But, buried underground were fragments of earthenware and other domestic objects. Leone says the loft in the room was likely used for sleeping. By the door, the team also unearthed another set of West African charms – a coin and arrowheads – placed there to manage spirits.

Systematic experiments were conducted in the 18th and 19th centuries to determine optimum light, temperature and water requirements of exotic plants, and slaves took an active role in this work. “These buildings were not only for beauty or display,” Leone says, drawing on historic records and modern scholarship. “Plantation owners like the Lloyds also were conducting agricultural experiments out of economic necessity and by the temperament of the times. They wanted to have access to exotic plants, and they wanted to learn how to make them thrive. They approached this in a systematic way, and it’s no stretch to consider this scientific experimentation.”

Furnace operators – the slaves – would have had to monitor conditions and maintain temperatures within the recommended range of 42 to 54 degrees F, Leone adds. Working under a Scots gardener, they would have to read the thermometer, understand each plant’s requirements, control the windows and monitor the furnace. The knowledge and skill acquired from these experiments became one of the slaves’ possessions, and helped create an African American tradition of gardening.
Report Spam   Logged


Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy