Wednesday, August 2, 2006
Thanks to Carl Christensen for pointing out this article about the excavation of a two hundred year old grave site of a man who had been a slave. Venture Smith, referred to as "the black Paul Bunyan"
is depicted in tales as a 6-foot-1 lumberjack slave whose fabulous feats of strength helped win his freedom. [Scientists] had hoped to find DNA that would trace Smith's life back to Africa, filling in the gaps of one of the earliest and most important slave biographies.
Unfortunately, all genetic material for Mr. Smith had decomposed.
The article continues:
But teams found several items from the nearby graves of Smith's family that should help answer many questions, said Chandler Saint, president of the Beecher House Center for the Study of Equal Rights in Torrington, who is managing the excavation.
Remains were found in the other graves, though three to six months of testing will he needed to determine whether any DNA has been recovered, Saint said. Many artifacts were also found, he said.