Dr. Frederick Smith
Frederick H. Smith is an associate professor of anthropology and archaeology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA. He is author of Caribbean Rum: A Social and Economic History (University Press of Florida 2005) and The Archaeology of Alcohol and Drinking (University Press of Florida, 2008). He has also published numerous articles on the role of alcohol in Caribbean society drawing on archaeological, documentary, and ethnographic evidence. For the past 20 years he has conducted archaeological investigations in Barbados. His work includes studies of seventeenth century British colonial drinking patterns in the urban context of Bridgetown, Barbados and the study of drinking by enslaved peoples at Mapps Cave located in the sugarcane fields of St. Philip, Barbados. His interest in rum began as a graduate student when, after discovering and excavating an unmarked slave burial ground in the Pierhead section of Bridgetown, workers poured libations of rum into the excavated graves. This led smith on a long journey to find the European and West African origins and antecedents of these practices. Smith explores the reasons why peoples drank, especially sociability, anxiety, boredom, health, and the maintenance of Old World traditions. His primary argument is the rum and other alcoholic beverages in the Caribbean offered peoples a temporary for of escape that he calls alcoholic marronage.