Bourbon Field: Preliminary Investigations of a Barrier Island Plantation Site, Sapelo Island, Georgia

Rachel Laura DeVan Perrine

           Most of the previous archaeological research at Bourbon Field has focused on its extensive prehistoric and protohistoric components, although significant historic components were recorded at the site as early as the 1970s. This study serves as a preliminary investigation of the historic components of Bourbon Field (circa 1733-1964), using historical and archaeological data to identify the spatial and temporal parameters of the historical occupations of the site and to examine the site's significance within Sapelo Island's plantation-oriented economy and culture during the late 18th and 19th centuries. The archaeological investigations included survey and trench excavations in northwest Bourbon Field, where the most extensive historic components and the site's only above-ground architectural remains exist. The data from those excavations and the historical research made it possible to compare Bourbon Field to more prominent Sapelo plantations and provided evidence of shared trends in material culture across the island, despite dramatic differences in plantation size and level of success. The examination of Bourbon Field within the broader historical, archaeological, and cultural context of Sapelo revealed that the site held an important and unique dual-identity as both an independent small-scale tract and a satellite tract contributing to large-scale plantation activities on the island.