Wednesday, February 01, 2006

African Slaves in Campeche, Mexico circa 1550

Ol' Myrt was floored when I opened yesterday's New York Times newspaper (which arrived this morning) and discovered an article on Africans whose remains were recently discovered in Mexico circa 1550.

At Burial Site, Teeth Tell Tale of Slavery
Published: January 31, 2006
New York Times
"While remodeling the central plaza in Campeche, a Mexican port city that dates back to colonial times, a construction crew stumbled on the ruins of an old church and its burial grounds. Researchers who were called in discovered the skeletal remains of at least 180 people, and four of those studied so far bear telling chemical traces that are in effect birth certificates.

The particular mix of strontium in the teeth of the four, the researchers concluded, showed that they were born and spent their early years in West Africa. Some of their teeth were filed and chipped to sharp edges in a decorative practice characteristic of Africa."

If you'd like to find out more about this new evidence indicating intensive "new world" slave trading in this early period, see:

A full write-up will be published in The American Journal of Physical Anthropology, by the archaeology team led by T. Douglas Price of the University of Wisconsin.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy

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