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Brazil’s slaves came from wider area than initially thought

Tooth analysis performed on the remains of slaves in a cemetery in Brazil have revealed that the African slaves came from a much wider geographic area than originally thought.

Using strontium isotope analyses of tooth enamel – a technique that helps detect where a person was raised and has previously been used on samples from burial sites in the Caribbean and Mexico – academics were able to confirm the large area from where the “new blacks” came.

“What we got was essentially the entire range of strontium isotope values,” said Cook. “It surprised us that the spectrum was so broad.”

The results indicated that slavers had “waded way into the interior” of Africa rather than restricting their search to coastal areas, Cook added.

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Story: Tom Phillips, Rio de Janeiro | Photo: Renzo Gostoli/AP

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