Bioarchaeological Evidence of the African Diaspora in Renaissance Romania


Little documentary or archaeological information currently exists regarding the presence of people of African descent in Eastern Europe during the historical period.  Known to have arrived in Europe with the Romans, free and enslaved Africans were common members of European society by the advent of the Renaissance, especially in the Moorish territories and the Ottoman Empire.  In 1952, archaeologists recovered a set of partial remains of 30-35-year-old man during excavations of an Orthodox Church cemetery located near the citadel of Suceava (the capital of Moldavia from 1388 to 1565), in northeastern Romania.  Morphological and statistical analyses of his bones indicate that he was most likely of African descent.  Buried between ca. 1500-1525, this man’s skeleton represents the first evidence of Africans living in this part of Europe at the turn of the sixteenth century, reflecting the breadth of the African Diaspora at a time of increasing cross-cultural interactions and intercontinental travel.

Cite this Record

Bioarchaeological Evidence of the African Diaspora in Renaissance Romania. Kathleen L Wheeler, Thomas A Crist, Mihai Constantinescu, Andrei Soficaru. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434865)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 657