Archaeological research on Maroons—that is, runaway slaves—has been largely confined to the Americas. This essay advocates a more global approach. It specifically uses two runaway slave communities in 19th-century coastal Kenya to rethink prominent interpretive themes in the field, including “Africanisms,” Maroons’ connections to indigenous groups, and Maroon group cohesion and identity. This article’s analysis demonstrates that the comparisons enabled by a more globalized perspective benefit the field. Instead of eliding historical and cultural context, these comparisons support the development of more localized and historically specific understandings of individual runaway slave communities both in Kenya and throughout the New World.
This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Historical Archaeology. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s41636-018-0146-3