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Archaeology, Ethics, and Society: Exploring Slavery in the Dutch Colonial Context

Dr. Felicia J. Fricke, Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen

Dr. Felicia J. Fricke is an archaeologist and historian with British and Dutch heritage. She received her PhD from the University of Kent (UK) in 2019 and her thesis was later rewritten as a book entitled Slaafgemaakt: Rethinking Enslavement in the Dutch Caribbean (CGRN, 2020). She has also published journal articles and book chapters in English, Dutch, and Papiamentu. Her family ties to the Dutch Caribbean islands of Bonaire and Curaçao have had an important impact on her work as an interdisciplinary scholar. Dr. Fricke’s current work at IN THE SAME SEA (University of Copenhagen) concerns the history of connections between islands in the eastern Caribbean in the early nineteenth century, and her other research interests include human remains analysis and archaeological ethics. She is a Director of the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology (IACA) and a member of the Dutch Association for Physical Anthropology (NVFA).

Dr. Felicia Fricke


Archaeological theory has long grappled with the problem of how to interpret data as evidence for the existence of slavery or as evidence for the experiences of enslaved people. This is an issue at stake in the archaeology of every time period and geographical region, but it has received particular attention in recent years with increasing interest in the archaeology of the colonial period in the Atlantic world. Using Dutch colonial examples, this presentation will introduce this topic by exploring the following questions: How can archaeology be useful in the study of slavery? What are the ethical issues that we must consider in this context? And, how can this be informative for the wider discipline of archaeology, and for society as a whole?