Infernal Traffic: Excavation of a Liberated African Graveyard in Rupert's Valley, St Helena

Andrew Pearson, 2012

Data copyright © Andrew Pearson, Pearson Archaeology Ltd, Aecom, Department for International Development unless otherwise stated


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Introduction

Rupert's Valley, St Helenat

This project relates to archaeological investigations of the 'Liberated African' graveyards in Rupert's Valley, on the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic. These works were undertaken between 2007 and 2008, and were funded by the British Government (Department for International Development). They arose from wider environmental studies undertaken in response to proposals to build an airport on the island.

The graveyards belong to the middle decades of the 19th century, and relate to Britain's attempts to abolish the transatlantic slave trade. Between 1840 and 1872 a Vice-Admiralty court operated on St Helena, adjudicating cases of slave ships captured by the Royal Navy. As a part of this process, the human cargo of these vessels - nearly all of whom had been transported in appalling conditions - were brought ashore on St Helena. Most were received into a depot in Rupert's Valley, and those who did not survive were buried there.



A data paper about this archive is available at: Pearson, A.F. 2012. A dataset to accompany the excavation report for a 'liberated African' graveyard in Rupert's Valley, St Helena, South Atlantic. Journal of Open Archaeology Data 1(1), DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/4f7b093ed0a77.