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Stephen Albert Mrozowski

Stephen Albert (Steve) Mrozowski

NIAS theme group fellow

Project title

Situating Sylvester Manor in the Dutch Colonial World

Research question

During the 17th century the Anglo-Dutch colonists, enslaved Africans and Indigenous workers lived and labored at Sylvester Manor. How to situate these three groups in the Dutch Colonial world they were a part of?

Project description

Steve Mrozowski’s research at Sylvester Manor is an extension of his continuing collaborations with the indigenous peoples of Southern New England in the USA. Currently his work involves collaboration with the Shinnecock of Eastern Long Island and the descendant communities linked to the enslaved Africans who labored on the Manor.

During the 17th century Sylvester Manor helped to provision two large sugar plantations on the island of Barbados that were owned and operated by two Anglo-Dutch brothers, Nathaniel and Constant Sylvester. Today Sylvester Manor still maintains the 1730’s vintage manor house and its surrounding acreage as an educational farm and history center dedicated to preserving the heritage of the indigenous and enslaved Africans who lived and worked at the Manor.

Archaeological excavations (1998-2005, 2019-2024) have unearthed the remains of early buildings as well as domestic and work areas of the 17th century plantation. This material tells a complex story of cultural pluralism that counters 19th efforts on the part of the Sylvester descendants to create a settler colonial landscape where all three groups lived separately.

Selected publications

  • Gould, D. Rae, Holly Herbster, Heather Law Pezzarossi and Stephen A. Mrozowski (2020). Historical Archaeology and Indigenous Collaboration: Discovering Histories that have Futures. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. Winner of the 2021 Society for American Archaeology Scholarly Book Award.
  • Mrozowski, Stephen A. (2019). Violence and Dispossession at the Intersection of Colonialism and Capitalist Accumulation. Historical Archaeology 53:3-4:492-515
  • Montgomery, Lindsay M., Anna S. Agbe-Davies, Craig Cipolla, Stephen Mrozowski, Nate Acebo, Stavey Camp, Wade Campbell, Edward Gonzalez Tennant, Alexandra Jones, Carol Mc David, Alicia Oldwale, Emily Van Alst and William A. White (2023). Advocating for Archaeology’s New Purpose