Date of Award

5-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Anthropology

Major Professor

Barbara J. Heath

Committee Members

David G. Anderson, Gerald Schroedl, Elizabeth DeCorse, Katherine Ambroziak

Abstract

This study examines the role of the Anglican Church in early colonial South Carolina, using for case studies the sites of St. Paul’s Parish Church (1707) and its associated parsonage, located near Charleston, South Carolina. The combination of archaeological excavations, historical documentary research, material culture analysis, and geophysical testing allows for three broad topics to be discussed - the architecture of St. Paul’s Parish Church, the use of the landscape by the Anglican Church, and studies of early-18th century life within a developing frontier. These topics contribute new information about colonial South Carolina on a number of scales. At the most local level, this study provides new information about the original St. Paul’s Parish Church, namely architectural details and the use of the landscape by its parishioners. Also, research at the parsonage site provides a rare opportunity to study an early-18th century homestead, addressing the daily activities of those people who lived there, as well as the social functions of the parsonage to the wider St. Paul’s parish community. On a more regional level, the role of St. Paul’s Church and Parish in the lives of parish residents is discussed, namely their role in maintaining English identity and the formation of a community within the frontier regions of the colony. A significant part of this research examines the ways the Anglican Church modified the landscape of South Carolina. The placement of Anglican churches in the rural areas appears to have been a material expression of the goals of the Church, namely to show its presence and power in the culturally and ethnically divided colony. The effects of the Anglican Church on the development of colonial South Carolina can then be studied alongside previous works in order to better understand the role that the Anglican Church and other major religious institutions played in colonization. The results indicate that the South Carolina Anglican Church played much larger, and often unseen, roles in the development of the colony during the early decades of the 18th century, beyond their religious and political roles.

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