a1 Midwestern Archaeological Research Center 4640 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61761-4640 USA
An interest in New World slavery is a recent and exciting development within American archaeology. As archaeologists have rushed to discover the material aspects of what slaves ate, what kinds of dwellings they inhabited, and what sorts of material culture they used, they have also gathered information about slave religion. Although much of this information is incomplete and open to numerous interpretations, it nonetheless exposes an important area of archaeological endeavour. I explore some of what is today known about the slaves' religious observances, both African-inspired and non-African. My focus is on the antebellum period, roughly from 1800 to 1861, of the American South, with some reference to other times and places.