Last summer was the last time Archaeology in Annapolis will likely excavate at Wye House. After a decade of our collective involvement and after five years of being out there myself, it’s an odd feeling to say goodbye to this place. Assemble Studio in Easton, Maryland, just outside of Wye House, finished two beautiful videos this week that summarize the archaeological work we’ve done there. One is a short, five minute “trailer,” and the other is the full, eleven minute version (see below). Along with vivid shots of the plantation’s landscape, historical photographs, and illustrations, the videos showcase Ben Skolnik, Dr. Leone, and I discussing the intellectual weight of our investigations. The final products took the combined efforts of a team of filmmakers, editors, archaeological staff, and field school students. Even before the day of filming, years of thought and work went into those eleven minutes.
I acted as a consultant to Eric Gravely and Patrick Rogan, who are part of the Assemble team, and who came out to Wye House last summer during our field school to film the footage you see in the videos. We worked with Mr. Rogan two years ago when we curated the Joint Heritage at Wye House exhibit at the Academy Art Museum in Easton. He designed the exhibit space to effectively tell the story of the plantation and our research. When we neared the end of that process, he and I discussed the possibility of launching an online exhibit of Joint Heritage, including professionally-produced videos and interactive educational tools. Although we don’t have the funding to create the full website yet, we didn’t want to waste our last opportunity to create the videos. For months leading up to the summer, Mr. Rogan and I considered the talking points of the exhibit and how to translate that to video. What are our main messages? How do we tie in a story of the archaeological process, the global Atlantic Slave Trade in general, and Wye House specifically together?
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