Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Benjamin Ford, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Beverly Chiarulli, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Xi Wang, Ph.D.


An antebellum freed African American settlement in northwestern Pennsylvania existed from 1854 into the postbellum period and the early twentieth century. At the time of its establishment, 63 manumitted African Americans traveled from a central Virginia plantation to start a new life. The site of Pandenarium, identified as site 36ME253 in the Pennsylvania Archaeological Site Survey (PASS) Files, persists in the historical and archaeological records, despite years of neglect and agricultural practices carried out at the site. While vestiges of the community remain, little was known about the people that once lived at Pandenarium, the abolitionists that built the settlement, and the wealthy planters that freed them. Historical archaeological investigations carried out at the site sought to understand the spatial layout of the site, the motivations of the parties involved in the establishment and development of Pandenarium, and the lives of the African American residents, pre- and post-Civil War. The research design was developed using practice theory, cultural landscape theory, and critical theory. The questions asked of the site, its spatial layout, and the historic records were ultimately used to elucidate the story of the men, women, and children living at Pandenarium.