“A class of human beings that has formed an integral part of Muslim society up to the present day is that of the slaves. [the Prophet] Muhammad took over the slavery system, upon which ancient society was based, seemingly without question and regarding it as part of the natural order of the universe. His injunctions recommending humane treatment of slaves and making it meritorious to emancipate them indicate that he intended some amelioration in their condition, but neither from the Quran nor from the ‘Traditions’ [Hadith] is it possible to infer that the abolition of slavery was intended.” (Reuben Levy, “The Social Structure of Islam”)
Slaves could be acquired in war, by purchase, gift or inheritance. African slaves were considered quite valuable and typically came from Central Africa. They would be sold in the slave markets at Fezzan in Libya and Upper Egypt or might have been brought to Mecca during the time of the pilgrimage and sold there. Read more.
Coastal erosion of Saint -François, on the south coast of Grande-Terre, part of the Guadeloupe group of islands in the Lesser Antilles, has partially destroyed a colonial era cemetery situated on the beach. An archaeological excavation of the eroded area has been carried out by Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives (INRAP).
This particular cemetery has been known about for several years. In the 1990s, the discovery of a skull associated with a slave collar produced the initial clue. Since then, human bones and coffin nails have emerged from the sand at regular intervals. Surveys conducted in 2013 helped uncover 48 individual burials, with indications of wooden coffins. Read more.
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A Mexican coin punctured with a small hole, nails from long-decayed wooden dwellings, and broken bits of plates and bottles are among thousands of artifacts unearthed from what archaeologists suspect were once slave quarters at the site of a planned highway project in Savannah.
A team hired to survey the site by the Georgia Department of Transportation spent three months excavating 20 acres of undeveloped woods tucked between a convenience store and apartments off busy Abercorn Extension on Savannah’s suburban south side. Archaeologist Rita Elliott said the project yielded a staggering 33,858 artifacts believed to date from about 1750 until after the Civil War. Read more.
Her name was Amica (loved friend) and her name and footprint are embedded in a terra cotta tile along side her friend Detfri. The signed tile is a rare find, as Amica was a Roman slave and not only her name, but a tangible imprint of her life, in the form of her footprint survives to this day.
For the most part, the slaves of the well-preserved city of Pompeii still remain largely “invisible” in history, according to the University of Delaware’s Lauren Hackworth Petersen.
Petersen is exploring new approaches to bring the lives of Pompeii’s slaves out of the shadows by drawing on literature, law, art and other material evidence. The research is part of a forthcoming book she is co-authoring with Sandra Joshel, at the University of Washington. Read more.
About 1,000 to 1,200 years ago, a Viking man still in his 20s was laid to rest on a craggy island in the Norwegian Sea. A new analysis of his skeleton and others buried nearby — several without their heads — suggests a haunting possibility: Some of the dead may have been slaves killed to lie in the grave with their masters.
Slavery was widespread in the Viking world, and scientists have found other Viking graves that include the remains of slaves sacrificed as “grave goods” and buried with their masters, a custom also practiced in ancient China and elsewhere. But the newly analyzed site is one of a very few Viking burials to include more than one slave, says the University of Oslo’s Elise Naumann, a Ph.D. student in archaeology who led the research. Read more.
NAIROBI (AA) – Kenyan authorities are investigating some 100 human skeletons, including skulls, discovered in Kijipwa village of the Kilifi County in the coastal region, an area believed to have been a holding ground for African slaves before being sent across the Indian Ocean to the Middle East and other parts of the world.
"The National Museums of Kenya is working with key institutions including the National Environment Authority (NEMA) and the Kilifi County government to assess the site," Jambo Haro, the head of archeology at the Coast National Museums of Kenya, told Anadolu Agency.
Construction workers stumbled on the skeletons as they dug the trenches for the foundation of a new hotel. Read more.
New Hampshire has posthumously emancipated 14 slaves who fought in the Revolutionary War and asked state lawmakers for their freedom more than 230 years ago.
A group of 20 slaves submitted a petition to the New Hampshire General Assembly on Nov. 12, 1779, while the war was still being fought. They argued that the freedom being sought by colonists should be extended to them, as well, and maintained that “public tyranny and slavery are alike detestable to minds conscious of the equal dignity of human nature.”
Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill Friday emancipating the 14 slaves, who were never freed before they died.
"Their plea fell on deaf ears," she said at a ceremony. "It is a source of deep shame that our predecessors didn’t honor this request. But today, more than 230 years too late for their petition, we say that freedom truly is an inherent right not to be surrendered." Read more.
RIO DE JANEIRO — In a rundown part of Rio de Janeiro’s harbor district, archaeologists are digging up fragments of a history many Brazilians would rather ignore.
Up to a million men and women forced into bondage in Africa emerged from the bellies of ships onto the Valongo wharf of what was once the world’s busiest slave-trading port. Today, as Brazil surges forward on the world stage, scholars hope the trove of beads, bracelets and statuettes they are finding will also prompt Brazilians to look backward with greater interest at their slave heritage.
The wharf that was intentionally buried in 1840 and replaced by a beautiful new port is coming back to light as part of a $5 billion project remaking Rio’s port region for tourism and business ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games.
"There was a real desire to erase Valongo, to erase this history, to take it right off the map," said Tania Andrade Lima, chief archaeologist of the dig, as she pointed out Valongo’s rough, uneven stones. "These were sidewalks made for slaves to tread," she said, contrasting them with the checkerboard of polished flagstones of the replacement wharf that replaced it. Read more.