The France of slavery told through archaeological excavations in France and overseas

The National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research has designed Of sugar and blood, a traveling exhibition for secondary school students that sheds light on the past.

Slave cemeteries, vestiges of huts, bondage necklaces … A traveling exhibition will present the history of colonial slavery told by archeology, which allows to give substance to the reality of this dark period, Inrap announced Monday. Sugar and blood, intended for young audiences from middle school, will be broadcast by the Education League through its various networks in France, in the form of “archaeocapsule», A kit of educational, modular and light exhibitions produced by the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research.

Objective: to show how the recent contributions of archeology have renewed the history of the slavery of sub-Saharan Africans, through the study of sites and material remains linked to their daily lives in the West Indies, Guyana, Reunion Island or in metropolitan France. “For a long time, the history of slavery was known through the archives of masters, merchants who went to look for slaves in Africa and brought them back to the colonies, from administrative documents, engravings», Underlined Jean-Marc Ayrault, president of the Foundation for the memory of slavery, during an online press conference.

These elements “did not give a voice to the slaves, who nevertheless left traces: archeology gave them not only a life, but a dignityThe former prime minister argued, welcoming the fact that this story resonates with young people, almost 20 years after the so-called Taubira Act (2001) recognized slavery and treated it as crimes against humanity.

Over the past 20 years, field excavations have uncovered slave cemeteries, vestiges of streets grouping together the huts of slaves, material produced by slaves such as pottery or clay pipes, “bondage necklaces»That they were made to wear …, detailed Sylvie Jérémie, researcher at Inrap. Genetic studies have also provided information on the health status of these “populations serviles», Particularly affected by pathologies such as bone tuberculosis.

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As much “objects»Archaeological sites that will allow visitors to the exhibition Sugar and blood of “touch the reality of slavery», Commented the president of Inrap, Dominique Garcia. These remains “are still scattered in the French ultra-marine domain, because France is just approaching this part of its history», Noted Sylvie Jérémie.

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