ANCESTRAL REMAINS DISCOVERED in 2012 at The UWI, MONA, in an area close to that which was once the slave residential village of the 18th and 19th century Papine Sugar estate, were reinterred on the campus on February 7 following a traditional ceremony where the customs and rites were observed.
The bones were found on January 31 in the walls of a drainage trench that was at the time being dug for the Faculty of Medical Sciences Teaching & Research Complex.
The find was not unusual given the fact that the Campus is built on two former 18th century sugar estates: Mona and Papine. But what was unexpected, was the location of the bones. The remains were discovered in an area known as West Road, which is associated with the Papine Estate, and close to the known location of the residential village of the enslaved labourers of that estate.
The discovery of additional graves in the area further confirmed the location of a previously undocumented cemetery. This was the case because available maps and plans for the Papine Estate indicate the location of the slave residential village, but do not pinpoint burial sites.
ďThe discovery, though not under the best of circumstances, allows for the cemetery to be spatially referenced in relation to the Papine sugar factory complex (the boiling and curing houses and the distillery), the slave residential village and cane fields, thereby providing a fuller understanding of this plantationís spatial layout, and contributes to further knowledge of the history of Jamaica and, by extension, the region,Ē said Dr Kathleen Monteith, Head of the Department of History and Archaeology.
She was speaking at the Reinternment ceremony, which was held at West Road, Mona Campus.
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