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Ethical issues at Loyola’s settlement, French Guyana: digging up a dark history

Author(s): Zocha Houle-Wierzbicki ; Yannick Le Roux

Year: 2014

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At the end of the 17th century, Loyola’s settlement represented one of the most important economic complexes of the French Guyana. It was created by Jesuits for production of sugar cane, coffee and indigo. In 1763, Loyola was closed, and the settlement counted over 500 Native or African slaves (Le Roux 1995:7). Introduction of the Black Code reminded every master to inhume their baptized slaves in the parish cemetery (Black Code 1768: 14). Our estimation shows that more than 1,000 individuals could be inhumed in the Loyola’s cemetery during this period. The new archaeological project planned for the summer 2013 will take place in the sacred area, raising important ethical questions: 1) How archaeologists can convince descendants of the slaves of the project’s legitimacy treating the darkest period of their history? 2) How archaeologists can help to reconcile their past and the present, while valuing the cultural identity of the descendants?Keywords: Loyola’s settlement ‘ Parish cemetery - slavery

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Ethical issues at Loyola’s settlement, French Guyana: digging up a dark history. Zocha Houle-Wierzbicki, Yannick Le Roux. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437395)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): POS-98,17

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