Maritime Archaeology and Slavery in Mauritius: Le Coureur Shipwreck

Author(s): Stefania Manfio; Yann von Arnim

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Archaeological Approaches to Slavery and Unfree Labour in Africa" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Analyzing slavery through the lens of shipwrecks makes a significant contribution to the understanding of labor migration. However, beyond the labor diaspora, there are social dynamics that can be view through maritime heritage. The ‘vessel’, the ship itself, was a vehicle of culture contact and the study of the artefacts found in the shipwreck can give us significant information on the life at sea, and the relationships on-board. As a result, maritime archaeology provides evidence for the movement of people, while narrating the voyage into slavery, and what captives endured during this terrible transformation. Mauritius is a very special case study. The presence of an extraordinary number of wrecks, over 800, demonstrates the great potential of this island. Especially notable is the investigation of Le Coureur shipwreck, a lugger built in 1818 in Grand Port and sunk in 1821 with a cargo of about 100 slaves from Zanzibar. The sinking of Le Coureur off the Mauritian coast marks the true ending of the slave trade to this island. Accordingly, exploring the social, craft, and biographical aspects of this shipwreck contributes important new evidence and helps contextualize the period of slavery in this part of Africa.

Cite this Record

Maritime Archaeology and Slavery in Mauritius: Le Coureur Shipwreck. Stefania Manfio, Yann von Arnim. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452432)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 24.082; min lat: -26.746 ; max long: 56.777; max lat: 17.309 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24267