Discover the past through evidence from an archaeological site at Kinglsey Plantation in Florida!
In this investigation students will use geography, history, and archaeology to learn about a Florida cabin and the enslaved people who lived in it. Investigating a Tabby Slave Cabin teaches students about a cabin at Kingsley Plantation in northeastern Florida used by enslaved people in the early 1800s and about the descendants of the people who lived there, through authentic archaeological and historical inquiry.  To understand the history of the United States of America it is important to understand the period of time when slavery existed. Slavery was filled with incidents of brutality, punctuated here and there by moments when individuals reached across the barriers of race, gender and class to be decent to each other. Kingsley Plantation offers the opportunity to encounter this doubled-faced reality in the complex lives of Anta Majigeen Ndiaye (Anna Kingsley) and Zephaniah Kingsley.

Examine historic photographs, primary source documents, artifacts, and maps of a Tabby Slave Cabin shelter. Students meet Mrs. Deborah Bartley-Wallace, a descendant of a slave family at Kingsley Plantation, through reading her biography. Then they “uncover” a real archaeological site, classify artifacts, and infer how the geographic area of Florida shaped the slave cabin.  Explore the history of slavery in the United States and engage students in a debate on a current civic dilemma involving archaeology and preservation.



“Investigating a Tabby Slave Cabin is a Project Archaeology curriculum that engages students by using inquiry methods, collaborative groups, and hands on activities that they enjoy doing and learning from. The materials are teacher friendly and easy to use with step by step directions. Everything that the teacher needs is right there. Best of all, the students are engaged and having fun learning.”—Lianne Bennett, 11–12th Grade Teacher, Deland High School, Florida

Instructions for the Teacher
The teacher’s document is 41 pages, consisting of background information and four sections corresponding to the student notebook. It includes archaeologists’ interpretations of the Tabby Slave Cabin site and details about the artifacts found. Quadrant maps from the archaeological site of the Tabby Slave Cabin are provided for students to study and use.

Student Archaeology Notebook
The student notebook is 30 pages of articles and activities about the Tabby Slave Cabin.  Mrs. Deborah Bartley-Wallace, a descendant of enslaved people who lived at Kingsley Plantation, guides students through the investigation. Through archaeology students discover artifacts left behind and how artifacts assist archaeologists in understanding the lifeways of the site’s residents and tracing their African ancestry.


When you buy Investigating a Tabby Slave Cabin you will also receive the essential companion products: Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter and access to online introductory videos.

Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter provides teachers and students with seven fundamental lessons on shelter and archaeology. With this pre-requisite, students are ready for Lesson Eight, an investigation of a shelter from the past, such as the Crow Plains Tipi. Finally, in Lesson Nine of Investigating Shelter students learn the enduring understanding that stewardship of archaeological sites and artifacts is everyone’s responsibility. Taught together, Investigating Shelter and Investigating a Tabby Slave Cabin is a complete, comprehensive unit that truly allows for a deep understanding of shelter and archaeology. More information

Investigating Shelter videos are a professional development experience for educators in lieu of attending a Project Archaeology workshop. Watch Project Archaeology lessons in action! See a professional development workshop and a teacher guiding a 4th grade class through Investigating Shelter. Instructors model Understanding by Design and archaeological inquiry. Plus, see interviews with teachers and students! The videos are also available on our Teacher Page.

    1. Introduction – Why archaeology matters
    2. Investigating Shelter and Understanding by Design
    3. Lesson Two: By Our Houses You Will Know Us
    4. Lesson Four: Observation, Inference, and Evidence
    5. Lesson Six: Context Game
    6. Lesson Eight: Being an Archaeologist