Slave Cemetery Found Near Sugar Mill in Trinidad

8-24-09, 9:51 am

TRINIDAD, Cuba, Aug 22 (acn) Researchers from the History Museum and the Archaeology Department of Curator’s Office of this city on the southern coast of Sancti Sipritus confirmed the finding of the first slave cemetery in the ancient Guinia de Soto sugar mill.

Head specialist of Trinidad’s History Museum Hector Manuel Viera Cartaya, said after with the falling down of a tree and the erosion of the soil, five perfectly-preserved corpses buried in a very organized way, were brought up to the surface.

The remains have high cheekbones, perfect dentures, wide noses and resistant bones. These, according to experts, are characteristics found in the Africans that were brought to Cuba as slaves. Local specialists also said that the stratum of the soil was unaltered which ratifies the discovery of the cemetery.

Viera Cartaya explained that burial dates back to late in the 18th century or early in the 1800's, the period of the highest development of the mills, when there were some 200 slaves in the area, according to texts on the topic.

After exhaustive field work, experts said that the cemetery was located about 30 meters away from the location of the house of Justo Germán Cantero, owner of the Güinía de Soto and the Buena Vista mills.

Viera Cartaya said that slave burial grounds discovered in the area and in other regions of Cuba were mostly found close to water streams, in mounds 40 to 50 meters away from the landowner’s house.

After completing the studies, the remains were taken to the graveyard of the town, Trinidad, which was the third village founded by the Spanish colonizers in Cuba.

Güinía de Soto became one of the most important mills of the famous valley after Cantero brought from Paris, France, the Derosne train or steam engine that boosted the sugar production.

From the Cuban News Agency