New forensic techniques in archaeology reveal existence of high status Africans living in 4th Century AD York
“A picture of multi-cultural Britain in 4th Century AD has been revealed using the latest forensic techniques in archaeology. The new research, published in the March issue of the journal Antiquity, demonstrates that Roman York of the period had individuals of North African descent moving in the highest social circles.
Dr Hella Eckardt, Senior Lecturer at the University of Reading, said: “Multi-cultural Britain is not just a phenomenon of more modern times. Analysis of the ‘Ivory Bangle Lady’ and others like her, contradicts common popular assumptions about the make up of Roman-British populations as well as the view that African immigrants in Roman Britain were of low status, male and likely to have been slaves.”
“To date, we have had to rely on evidence of such foreigners in Roman Britain from inscriptions. However, by analysing the facial features of the Ivory Bangle Lady and measuring her skull compared to reference populations, analysing the chemical signature of the food and drink she consumed, as well as evaluating the evidence from the burial site, we are now able to establish a clear profile of her ancestry and social status.
“It helps paint a picture of a Roman York that was hugely diverse and which included among its population, men, women and children of high status from Romanised North Africa and elsewhere in the Mediterranean.”
The ancestry assessment suggests a mixture of ‘black’ and ‘white’ ancestral traits, and the isotope signature indicates that she may have come from somewhere slightly warmer than the UK. Taken together with the evidence of an unusual burial rite and grave goods, the evidence all points to a high status incomer to Roman York. It seems likely that she is of North African descent, and may have migrated to York from somewhere warmer, possibly the Mediterranean.
The Ivory Bangle Lady was a high status young woman who was buried in Roman York (Sycamore Terrace). Dated to the second half of the fourth century, her grave contains jet and elephant ivory bracelets, earrings, pendants, beads, a blue glass jug and a glass mirror. The most famous object from this burial is a rectangular openwork mount of bone, possibly from an unrecorded wooden casket, which reads ‘Hail, sister, may you live in God’, indicating Christian beliefs.”
16 March 2012
It’s been interesting to read some of the comments as a result of this post. The understandings regarding Africans in ‘European History’ are, in the mainstream, void. Under the Roman Empire, race was - for the most part - not a liability. Africans as Roman soldiers were in Britain, and most likely everywhere else Roman soldiers were stationed in the empire. If I recall my studies correctly, it was an African Roman general that led soldiers against the Jews (but I can’t remember if it was the the first that Josephus wrote about or the later revolt of Bar Kochba). There’s a story of a Christian woman in the time of Origen (184-253) who gave birth to a black baby. And in terms of genetics, it is said that Italians are closer related to North Africa than to Northern Europe. And, this note can go on and on, like there is evidence that there were Germans born white with ‘negroid’ features, or African Americans (a book was written on this) that were so light skinned that they moved out of the South, taken as ‘White’ married a ‘White’, had children, and never said a thing.
What is of particular interest, to me, is this, however: if you are Welsh, Irish, Scot, or Normand, you are genetically related to the Basque in Spain! True : )
New Orleans, 1842. Lithograph based on daguerreotype, by Jules Lion (1809 - 1866).
Paris-born Jules Lion (c. 1809-1866), was the first of about 50 African American daguerreotype artists. He opened New Orleans’ first daguerreotype studio in 1840, one year after the invention of the process. Lion also painted, made a series of lithographs commissioned by prominent Louisianans (including John James Audubon and Andrew Jackson), lectured on photography and co-founded an art school in New Orleans. Until the end of his life, Lion traveled to Paris to exhibit his work.
Stars of Cuba team from 1912, which included Cuban baseball legend Jose Mendez seated in center of the second row.
The others in the photo, which is now up for auction at Hakes Americana and Collectibles, are listed (from left to right starting with the back row) as: Jabuco, Niessen, Sueya, Jones and R. Valdes, J. Munoz, Pelayo Chacon, A. Cabahas, P. Pereda, Govantes, N. Villa and Figarola.
The Cuban Stars were a team of Cuban professional baseball players who competed in the United States Negro leagues from 1907 to 1932. The team was also sometimes known as the Stars of Cuba, the Cuban All-Stars, the Havana Reds, the Almendares Blues, or simply as the Cubans. For one season, 1921, the team played home games in Cincinnati, Ohio and was known as the Cincinnati Cubans. For the rest of its life, it was a traveling team that played only road games. For its first five years, the team competed primarily in the eastern states, near New York City and Philadelphia, although it made a famous sojourn into Chicago in 1910 and 1911, taking on the Leland Giants and numerous semi-pro teams in the Chicago area. By 1916, however, the team was competing primarily in the midwestern states and a competing Cuban team was organized in the New York area, which was also named the “Cuban Stars.” To differentiate between the two teams, the original team (organized by Abel Linares and Agustín “Tinti” Molina) is known as the “Cuban Stars (West),” and the new team (organized by Alex Pompez) is known as the “Cuban Stars (East)”. (via Wikipedia)
Young, black and unemployed: the tragedy of the 44%
Nearly half Britain’s young black people are jobless. We’ve created an inequality timebomb
Slavery in Nova Scotia
Wikipedia lies, as does the memory people turn into history. Case in point:
This article starts with the following: “Black Nova Scotians are people of African American descent whose ancestors fled Colonial America as slaves or freemen to settle in Nova Scotia, Canada during the 18th and 19th centuries.”
What it doesn’t tell you is that slavery EXISTED in Nova Scotia, something I was unaware of until a few days ago, and something that was only disclosed after numerous conversations with Canadian academics.
Although Nova Scotia was never a major slave colony, it was also neither unknown nor unusual. Wealthy families in particular often had a few bound servants, and there are records of slaves being sold and inherited in Halifax. However, the land was unsuitable for most agriculture and African slaves had trouble tolerating the cold climate. The plantation economy was a nonstarter in Nova Scotia, and thus slavery was an accepted custom with no specific legal standing.
The official Caandian government page also dances around the issue of slavery in the former British Colony of Nova Scotia
The exhibit focuses on the period between 1749 and 1834, dates which mark the founding of Halifax and the coming into effect of legislation abolishing slavery in the British colonies, respectively…However, the founding of Halifax does not mark either the beginning of African Nova Scotian history or the introduction of slavery into Nova Scotia. African Nova Scotian history dates back to the Acadian period, 1604-1755. Black people accompanied the early French explorers to Acadia.
What the article is basically saying is that because Black/African peoples were in Nova Scotia when the French came in the 1600s, there is no need to directly address black/African slavery in Nova Scotia.
Go Canada! … the more you know.
Chico and Rita is an Oscar nominee for Best Animated Film for 2012. This not for kids animated love story is about two Afro-Cubans brought together by their passion for music.
official website w/trailer here.
How hot is this??? I need to see it, Chico and Rita
This is one of the many reasons I run this blog.
Ivan Van Sertima - The Dead Are Alive in Us
Dr Ivan van Sertima breaking down fallacies such as the modern day concept of Race, ‘Race is a social construct formed after the European expansion, with the decimation of indigenous culture globally the slave trade and colonization of Africa. That was where our modern day archetypes of race originate, such as today’s social stigma of so called blackness being associated with being in a low position or class. But as we recover our history and transform ourselves this will change.