MAKING SENSE OF THE FORT; CIVICALLY-ENGAGED SENSORY ARCHAEOLOGY AT FORT WARD AND DEFENSES OF WASHINGTON
Minkoff, Mary Furlong
Shackel, Paul A
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In this dissertation, I ask the question, what is the best way to understand the history and archaeology of The Fort and other African American communities associated with the Defenses of Washington? The Fort is an African American community that settled on the grounds of Fort Ward in Alexandria, Virginia from the 1860s through the early 1960s. To answer this question, I adopted a civically-engaged, sensory approach to archaeology and established three project goals. First, I use sensory archaeology, historical research, and community memories to explore the origins of The Fort community, its relationship to Fort Ward, and the land surrounding it. Second, I incorporate the archaeology, memory, and history of The Fort community into a broader narrative of the local and national past through shared sensory experiences. Third, I conclude by describing how a sensory approach could be used to understand the experiences of African Americans at other Civil War Defenses of Washington sites. These goals have been developed with the consideration and input from The Fort Ward/Seminary African American Descendant Society (Descendant Society) and the National Park Service (NPS).