EUROTAST Initial Training Network Webinar

Join us at the St Helena Community College, Education Learning Centre, Jamestown

For a ZOOM based on the

Doctoral Training Network:

Sharing the outcomes of three PhD projects focused on St Helena’s liberated Africans and the history and legacy of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans

Thursday, 26 November 2020, 7pm to 8.30pm

For Island residents, this Webinar is open to all. There is no need to register. Just come along.

If you would like to register to join from elsewhere please contact Hannes Schroeder:

EUROTAST Project Coordinator Dr Hannes Schroeder will be describing the Marie Curie doctoral training network that ran from 2011-2015. EUROTAST was designed to be a multi-disciplinary programme combining different perspectives from history, archaeology, social anthropology and human genomics and focused on three themes: Origins, Life Cycles, and Legacies.

The EUROTAST project supported 13 PhD projects on the history and legacies of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans. Three of the Doctoral fellows, Drs Erna Johannesdottir, Marcela Sandoval Velasco and Judy Watson will be presenting and discussing the outcomes of their studies that focused on St Helena’s liberated Africans.

Between the early 16th and late 19th centuries, an estimated 12 million Africans were transported to the Americas as part of the transatlantic slave trade. Following Britain’s abolition of the slave trade in 1807, the Royal Navy patrolled the Atlantic and intercepted slave ships that continued to operate. During this period, the island of St Helena in the middle of the South Atlantic served as a depot for ‘liberated’ Africans. Between 1840 and 1867, approximately 27,000 Africans were disembarked on the Island (M. Sandoval Valesco).

The three studies are:

Biocultural study of Dental Modification Practices in 19th century Sub-Saharan Africa, Dr Erna Johannesdottir

The aim of this project is to explore dental modification practices in the 19th century Sub Saharan Africa by using osteoarchaeological research methods. The human remains excavated from the Liberated African Graveyard in Rupert’s Valley display the largest assemblage of African individuals with modified teeth ever found in an archaeological context. A study of these remains has given insight into cultural practices and dental health of the people buried in Rupert’s Valley.

Isotopic perspectives on slave origins and forced migration, Dr Judy Watson

This project used stable and radiogenic isotopes in skeletal tissue samples from archaeological sites associated with the transatlantic slave trade to reconstruct diet, and to study changing dietary patterns during an individual’s lifetime and to identify geographical origins and to elucidate family or tribal groups.

Tracing the origins of African captives in the slave trade using aDNA, Dr Marcela Sandoval Velasco

Genome-wide patterns of genetic variation extracted from ancient DNA were used to identify the geographic origins of African captives. The sequences were compared with those of contemporary African populations to infer ancestry and population origins of selected individuals for 20 individuals recovered from St Helena. The results shed light on the origins of enslaved Africans during the final stages of the slave trade and illustrate how genetic data can be used to complement and validate existing historical sources.

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” – Dr Maya Angelou

For more information about the Webinar please contact Rebecca Cairns-Wicks: For more information about the EUROTAST project please visit the website at:

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470