Caribbean Grave Site Illuminates Slavery





CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands -- A paper trail documents their lives as human property, from their passage across the Atlantic to their sale as slaves for sugar plantations. Now a newly discovered burial ground promises to shed extensive new light on the lives and deaths of Africans in the Caribbean.

Researchers from Denmark and the U.S. Virgin Islands want to unearth up to 50 skeletons next year, hoping to learn about their diet, illnesses and causes of death, and thus broaden knowledge of slave life in the one-time Danish colony.

Descendants of slaves could discover ancestors through DNA tests. At public meetings, islanders have also embraced the excavations as a way for Europeans to recognize their historic role in the slave trade -- and perhaps to make new amends.


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