Black Folks Here And There

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Maybe Van Sertima was on to something:

One of the richest inhabitants of fourth century Roman York, buried in a stone sarcophagus with luxury imports including jewellery made of elephant ivory, a mirror and a blue glass perfume jar, was a woman of black African ancestry, a re-examination of her skeleton has shown.

Now, 16 centuries after her death, her skeleton is helping prove the startling diversity of the society in which she lived.

"We're looking at a population mix which is much closer to contemporary Britain than previous historians had suspected," Hella Eckhardt, senior lecturer at the department of archaeology at Reading University, said. "In the case of York, the Roman population may have had more diverse origins than the city has now."

Interesting stuff. Evidently she had some loot on her too. Of course it isn't that surprising when you think about it. The Roman Empire stretched from Egypt to Britain. It's easy to see how this could have happened. 

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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