• 87/86Sr;
  • human remains;
  • slavery;
  • migration


Construction activities around Campeche's central park led to the discovery of an early colonial church and an associated burial ground, in use from the mid-16th century AD to the late 17th century. Remains of some individuals revealed dental mutilations characteristic of West Africa. Analyses of strontium isotopes of dental enamel from these individuals yielded unusually high 87Sr/86Sr ratios, inconsistent with an origin in Mesoamerica, but consistent with an origin in West Africa in terrain underlain by the West Africa Craton, perhaps near the port of Elmina, a principal source of slaves for the New World during the 16th century. These individuals likely represent some of the earliest representatives of the African Diaspora in the Americas. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.