Beneath the Surface of Peachtree Plantation

Join us to learn more about African American history and life in the years after emancipation by joining a four-week archaeological field school investigating enslaved peoples’ transition to freedom in the rice-growing regions of South Carolina.  

Peachtree Plantation, in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, is best known today as the grand family seat of Thomas Lynch, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence. But Peachtree was also one of the most productive and innovative commercial tidal rice plantations in the Santee Delta that utilized an enormous enslaved labor force. Recently, the property has been the focus of archaeological investigations of the remains of the main house, the areas where the enslaved lived, and the production of South Carolina rice. 

What happened to Peachtree Plantation and its enslaved laborers after emancipation? Peachtree remained a productive plantation with an African American labor force working the land as “tenants” who paid rent to the plantation owners. Today we know very little about the lives of these Black tenant farmers and how they lived in freedom at Peachtree. What was the new and often exploitative labor arrangement of tenant farming like for them? Who was brave enough to live there and attempt to make a living? Who were the tenants: newly freed slaves who continued to live and work at Peachtree or migrants from other plantations? Where were they living? What kinds of crops were they growing? 

You can help us answer these important questions and gain greater insight into the lives of African Americans in the years after the Civil War! This summer, students are invited to join archaeologists from the University of the South on an immersive 4-week program to examine this understudied aspect of the post-Civil War era on the Santee River and the legacies of slavery on Peachtree Plantation.

No field experience or courses in archaeology are required.