The Nicholas Gibbs Farmstead, Knox County, East Tennessee ___________________________________________________________________________________

The Nicholas Gibbs farmstead was the subject of my dissertation research, subsequent journal articles, and a book.  The site was first occupied by Nicholas Gibbs in ca. 1792 and contains the original log house.  Excavations were conducted at the Gibbs house between 1986 and 1996 by Charles Faulkner with the Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  In my dissertation I explored the influence of rural capitalism upon the Gibbs family and how this cultural-historical-economic process shaped material life among the site residents.  I also looked at the medium-term history of the lineal family and how household dynamics shaped the domestic landscape, architecture, and material culture across four generations.  The results of the study suggest that the extended family was instrumental in influencing material continuity and change at the farmstead during an approximately 200-year period.  The results of research at the Gibbs site are presented in the following documents:



Groover, Mark D.  2003    An Archaeological Study of Rural Capitalism and Material Life: The Gibbs Farmstead in Southern Appalachia, 1790-1920.  Springer, New York.

Book Reviews of An Archaeological Study of Rural Capitalism and Material Life


Journal Articles

Groover, Mark D.  2005  The Gibbs Farmstead: Household Archaeology in an Internal Periphery.  International Journal of Historical Archaeology  December 9(4):229-289.



The Gibbs farmstead, a rural domestic site in Knox County, East Tennessee, was inhabited by four generations of the Nicholas Gibbs family between ca. 1792 and 1913.  In the following essay, world systems theory is combined with primary historical sources and the archaeological record to explore how aspects of the emerging global system influenced daily material life and household-level economic strategies among the Gibbs family in Southern Appalachia, regarded as an internal periphery within the world system.  Focusing upon domestic architecture and foodways, consideration of material life reveals the presence of a strong vernacular orientation among the Gibbs family that was also substantially influenced by larger trends within national-level consumerism and popular culture.  



Groover, Mark D.  2001    Linking Artifact Assemblages to Household Cycles: An Example from the Gibbs Site.  Historical Archaeology 35(4):38-57.


In this essay, a new quantitative method called time sequence analysis is introduced.  The method is used to link artifact distributions to family cycles, allowing reconstruction of consumption dynamics across several generations.  Information from this study was recovered from excavations conducted at the Gibbs site, a 19th-century farm near Knoxville, Tennessee.  Four generations of the Gibbs family occupied the site between 1792 and 1913.  The relationship between household cycles and material consumption is measured statistically with correlation tests using time sequence analysis.  The analysis results indicate that, given optimum excavation and documentary contexts, artifact assemblages can be linked directly to successive households.


Artifacts with a pulse: Time sequence analysis (TSA) of items from the smokehouse pit cellar at the Gibbs site, compared to the household cycles of the Gibbs family (HHSize in key).


TSA distribution of decorated ceramics compared to household cycles at the Gibbs site.


Ph.D. Dissertation

Groover, Mark D.  1988    The Gibbs Farmstead: An Archaeological Study of Rural Economy and Material Life in Southern Appalachia, 1790-1920.  Doctoral dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.



The John Gibbs family, ca. 1910.


Pearlware saucers recovered from the smokehouse pit cellar at the Gibbs site.



Redware crock recovered from the smokehouse pit cellar.


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