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18th century graveyard found at former Caribbean plantation

Saint Eustatius Plantation Burial Ground
Saint Eustatius Plantation Burial Ground
Saint Eustatius Plantation Burial Ground
Saint Eustatius Plantation Burial Ground
Saint Eustatius Plantation Burial Ground
Saint Eustatius Plantation Burial Ground
Posted at 8:00 PM, May 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-31 22:01:50-04

An 18th century burial ground has been discovered at a former sugar plantation on the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Eustatius, officials, and archaeologists say it likely contains the remains of slaves and could provide a trove of information on their lives.

Government officials said Monday that 48 skeletons had been found at the site so far, most of them males, but also some females and infants.

Saint Eustatius Plantation Burial Ground
In this photo provided by St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research, SECAR, the skull of what is believed to be an enslaved man sits in the ground at an excavation in the former Golden Rock plantation west of the international Airport in Oranjestad, on the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Eustatius, on the Leeward Islands, Thursday, May 27, 2021. According to specialists, the filed teeth are an indication that this man belonged to the first generation of slaves from Africa, because filing teeth was forbidden by slave owners. (SECAR via AP)

The director of the St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research says many more remains are expected to lie in the graves at the former Golden Rock Plantation.

Saint Eustatius Plantation Burial Ground
An archaeologist shows a coin found on top of the remains of an enslaved man, dated 1737, at the former Golden Rock plantation west of the international Airport in Oranjestad, on the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Eustatius, on the Leeward Islands, Thursday, May 27, 2021. Government officials said that 48 skeletons had been found at the site of an 18th century burial ground so far, most of them males, but also some females and infants, and that it could provide a trove of information on their lives. (AP Photo/Tim van Dijk)

He says that given the location near the former plantation, the graves most likely contain the remains of enslaved people.