1Department of Anthropology, College of William & Mary, 2Department of Biology, College of William & Mary, 3Department of Anthropology and the School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, 4Curator of Archaeology, Barbados Museum & Historical Society
Thursday All day, Plaza Level
In the year 2000 an emergency excavation was conducted to recover skeletal material from an unmarked graveyard in the Fontabelle section of Bridgetown, Barbados. Though poorly preserved, the osteological analyses supported the archaeological and socio-contextual evidence that these individuals were most likely members of the city’s enslaved and freedmen populations from the mid-17th and 18th centuries.
While definitive, one further question remained. What was the macro-ethnic affiliation of these individuals, and would the results support these assessments? To help answer this question, a pilot study was performed that involved the extraction of mtDNA from several fragmented elements, including one cranial fragment, three femora, and two teeth. PCR amplification of hypervariable regions I and II of the mtDNA was successful from one femur and one tooth. Initial analysis of the mutations present in the amplified mtDNA indicates that both samples belonged to individual(s) from haplogroup L, thus suggesting an African origin of the human remains.