chapter  14
16 Pages

Hawking your wares: Determining the scale of informal economy through the distribution of local coarse earthenware in eighteenth-century Jamaica

Archaeological sites from eighteenth-century Jamaica contain significant quantities of locally produced coarse earthenware. Historical accounts are replete with references to street markets through which enslaved and freed African Jamaicans bought and sold goods, including such earthenwares, and products contained within them. This study attempts to understand the significance of these markets and determine the scale of the informal economic sector in which enslaved and free African Jamaicans operated. The primary subject of my research is the petrographic analysis of the local pottery traded in this internal market system. W hat I have found is that while there were many sites o f pottery manufacture in Jamaica, pottery was traded across the island, indicating an island-wide scale of economy in contrast to the localized economy of the planters.