Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



By combining investigations of two sawmill complexes at Natchez-Under-the-Hill, Mississippi, and ethnohistoric data from contemporaneous mill operations in the region, this thesis analyzes aspects of two mid-nineteenth century lumber operations. It focuses not only on the machinery and technology involved in these operations, but also on the individuals, many of whom were enslaved prior to the Civil War, whose skills and labors provided the backbone for these early milling enterprises. The data for this research were derived from archival documents, oral testimonies, and artifacts recovered from archaeological survey and excavation. The archaeological data comes from excavations carried out at the circa 1841-1870 Brown Cozzens Sawmill (the Well site 22AD993) in the summer of 1999 and the survey in the spring of 1999 of the Learned Mill Road Area. Archaeological survey of the former Andrew Brown-Rufus Learned sawmill at Upper Landing and excavations at the Cozzens sawmill at Middle Landing yielded valuable information regarding the spatial layout of the mill complexes as well as details about the working and living conditions at these sawmills through time. At the former location of the Andrew Brown sawmill, only a few artifacts were recovered in the survey dating to the operation of the mill at this location from 1818 to 1917. Archaeological investigations at the former Cozzens Sawmill yielded information on the location and operation of this sawmill complex along the riverfront. A brick foundation provided information on the orientation and placement of the historic sawmill and its mechanical operation. Artifacts excavated from a brick-lined well represent an archaeological assemblage from a mid-nineteenth century sawmill complex. Parts of the mill's machinery, food items, medicine bottles, clothing material, and personal items were excavated from the feature. Through the analysis of the Upper and Middle Landing sawmill operations, which involved the compilation of various textual source, a greater understanding of not only the financial and technical operation of a mid-nineteenth century sawmill in Natchez was garnered, but a greater insight was gained into the social and spatial workings of a mill operation and the dangers workers faced during this turbulent time.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

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Committee Chair

Paul Farnsworth