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African American Burial Ground

Essay by   •  December 8, 2013  •  Essay  •  456 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,212 Views

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A very big African Burial Ground was found in New York City in 1991 where now 219 Broadway is. Archaeologists were very excited about it, as there is not much information about African Americans and their lives and that was a great opportunity to learn more about them. Before excavation, or with another words digging the site, archaeologists made a survey of the ground, studying old maps to see where exactly they can find the bodies. They found out that the Republican Alley was the only intact place where no buildings were build. As they started excavation, they found out that the coffins were much deeper compared to what they expected, and because of that all skeletons are intact even under the building. They were deeper because there was a hill which was flattened and the sand covered Collect Pond which was there and the gravesite as well. To get faster to the bodies, first big machinery were used until they get close enough. After that archaeologists used shovels and brushes. When they saw dark lines left from the coffin decaying wood, they knew there was a body. After that they tried to identify first where the head and the legs are, so they know pretty much know where the whole body is. They examined the teeth which tells about the age and nutrition stress, the spinal cord- flat for kids, smashed and lipping from hard work and carrying heavy objects. While excavating archeologists were creating a map of all the bones and where they were found, used also plumb bob to measure the exact deepness, creating 3D dimension. After examining all the data they collected, archaeologists found out that people were buried in special way, their heads heading west, so when they stand up they could look toward east, where Africa and many holy places are located. Another thing was that many children under 12 were found, which means that they most likely had very little to eat and bad conditions for living. Many of the bodies had coins on their eyes to keep them shut which were not removed as people at that time believed that that would be bad luck. Also, bodies in many case had no clothing, but just a sheath, that's because people were poor so they had no clothing to spare. Coffins were also missing. There were also people from West Africa, recognized by their teeth pattern, and beads on their waist. They were similar to people culture in a region from West Africa. 10 000 people were buried there, but after much excavation, the site was closed as the site is pretty much recent. All information from "The African Burial Ground: An American Discovery".

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