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Grant number: PG-258257-18

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St. Mary's College of Maryland (St. Mary's City, MD 20686-3002)
Liza A. Gijanto (Project Director: April 2017 to present)

A Conservation Assessment of the Gambia Archaeological Collections

A conservation assessment of the Gambia Archaeological Collections at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), which encompasses around 3,000,000 artifacts and includes earthenware and porcelain ceramics, glass vessels, beads, clay tobacco pipes, and spindle whorls from eight archaeological sites representing the Atlantic (17th to early 19th century) and colonial eras (early 19th to mid-20th century) on the Gambia River, in West Africa. The applicant would also offer a two-week workshop to train students in collections care to ensure ongoing stewardship of the collection within the college for teaching, research, and public programs, including exhibitions and nationally broadcast films.

The Gambia Archaeological Collection at St. Mary’s College of Maryland is the largest assemblage of artifacts representing the long-term trajectory of the Atlantic Slave Trade from its inception to its abolition by the British. This includes artifacts from British trading houses, local commercial towns, slave settlements, French merchants and Liberated Africans. Of particular note are the materials from Kunta Kinte’s home village of Juffure. The proposed assessment will evaluate the current organization, housing and conservation of the collections and provide specific recommendations (e.g., proper housing and storage of the collections) to maximize accessibility of the artifacts. To date, access has been limited for students and researchers not affiliated with the College. The goal is to increase access and enable the development of an online presence for the materials that would raise visibility and thus use.

Project fields:
African History; Archaeology

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$5,925 (approved)
$5,925 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 6/30/2019