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Genetic Evidence of African Slavery at the Beginning of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Martiniano, R, Coelho, C, Ferreira, MT, Neves, MJ, Pinhasi, R and Bradley, DG (2014) Genetic Evidence of African Slavery at the Beginning of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 4. ISSN 2045-2322

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An archaeological excavation in Valle da Gafaria (Lagos, Portugal), revealed two contiguous burial places outside the medieval city walls, dating from the 15th–17th centuries AD: one was interpreted as a Leprosarium cemetery and the second as an urban discard deposit, where signs of violent, unceremonious burials suggested that these remains may belong to slaves captured in Africa by the Portuguese. We obtained random short autosomal sequence reads from seven individuals: two from the latter site and five from the Leprosarium and used these to call SNP identities and estimate ancestral affinities with modern reference data. The Leprosarium site samples were less preserved but gave some probability of both African and European ancestry. The two discard deposit burials each gave African affinity signals, which were further refined toward modern West African or Bantu genotyped samples. These data from distressed burials illustrate an African contribution to a low status stratum of Lagos society at a time when this port became a hub of the European trade in African slaves which formed a precursor to the transatlantic transfer of millions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Science & Technology; Multidisciplinary Sciences; Science & Technology - Other Topics; GENOME-WIDE PATTERNS; ANCIENT DNA; POPULATION-STRUCTURE; SEQUENCE; PROGRAM; REMAINS; TOOL
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
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Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2020 15:27
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 06:59
DOI or ID number: 10.1038/srep05994
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13311
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