Brazil Slave Cemetery Reveals Grim Past

June 27, 2017 Updated: June 27, 2017

Archaeologists excavating a slave cemetery near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil have made a very unusual find.

Diggers working in the slave cemetery called Pretos Novos have unearthed an intact skeleton of a young African female. The remains are thought to be about 200 years old.

“It was very surprising finding a woman because there was a much greater number of men brought from Africa to be enslaved than women, due to demand for labor in sugarcane and then in coffee production,” explained archaeologist Andrea Lessa Pinto.

One is forced to wonder why this young woman was imported. Perhaps she was supposed to provide comfort to male slaves; perhaps she was meant to personally serve a plantation owner. In any case, she was apparently still young when she died.

Brazil imported about 4 million slaves over some 400 years.

Brazil was the last Western nation to abolish slavery. The practice was legal there until 1888.