[PAST EVENT] Africana Studies Lecture Series: Joseph Jones, W&M Dept. of Anthropology

March 18, 2016
12pm - 1pm
Boswell Hall (formerly Morton Hall), Room 314
100 Ukrop Way
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
"Detecting Diaspora: Reconstructing geo-ancestry and environmental health from skeletal remains"

The study of ancestral skeletal remains reveals new dimensions and important details of African diasporic biohistory. Teeth, for example, serve as chemical archives of experiences of forced migration, diet and health associated with different landscapes. Here, I report on an analysis of early-life lead exposure (via dental enamel) for children, women and men excavated at the 17th- and 18th-century New
York African Burial Ground (NYABG) in lower Manhattan. Among the key findings, lead concentrations for young children were, on average, over five times that of adults. This significant difference suggests distinct health trajectories for children born into slavery and reflects these groups--mostly American versus African geographic origins, respectively. Findings from this study shed new light on lead exposure--a persistent public and global health concern--at the origins of African America and the nation. During this talk, I will also explain how a model of community-engaged research developed for the NYABG Project is being applied to the study and memorialization of skeletal remains excavated from the East Marshall Street Well on the campus of Medical College of Virginia.