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'Literary Archaeology': Exploring the Lived Environment of the Slave


‘Literary Archaeology’: Exploring the Lived Environment of the Slave

The Literary Archaeology project has now ended.

These pages are no longer actively maintained, but their contents remain publicly accessible, in accordance with our funding arrangements.

Between the 16th and 19th centuries it is estimated that 12 million people were captured as slaves or sold into slavery in a trade that took them from their homes in Africa to plantations in the Americas. Despite having been much studied and debated, the slave trade continues to provoke intense academic and public interest because there is still so much we do not know about slavery.

While historical documentation can tell us about the workings of the slave trade and the slave owners, we know very little about the everyday experience of slaves from their own perspective. What was it like to be enslaved? How did the natural environment, landscape, living conditions and diet that slaves experienced affect their health, wellbeing and emotional lives?

Find out more about the 'Literary Archaeology' project