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The Earliest Bioarchaeological Evidence of the African Diaspora in Renaissance Romania

Author(s): Kathleen L Wheeler ; Thomas A Crist ; Mihai Constantinescu ; Andrei Soficaru ; Florina Raicu

Year: 2017

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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.  At the cemetery site of Suceava, located in northeastern Romania, archaeologists in the 1950s excavated two sets of skeletal remains that our recent analysis indicates exhibit morphological traits consistent with African ancestry.  DNA testing of one of the two individuals has revealed the Mitochondrial DNA haplogroup L3d5, which is specific for East Africa; results are pending for the second.  This paper explores the breadth of the African Diaspora through the presence of at least two men of African descent buried in a Christian cemetery in the Moldavian capital of the early 1500s.

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The Earliest Bioarchaeological Evidence of the African Diaspora in Renaissance Romania. Kathleen L Wheeler, Thomas A Crist, Mihai Constantinescu, Andrei Soficaru, Florina Raicu. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435499)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 599

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America