African Slaves in Campeche, Mexico
Ol' Myrt here was floored when I opened yesterday's New York Times newspaper
(which arrived this morning) and discovered an article on Africans circa 1550
whose remains were recently discovered in Mexico.
Site, Teeth Tell Tale of Slavery
By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
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
If you'd like to find out more about this new
evidence indicating intensive "new world" slave trading in this early period,
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!