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News: THE SEARCH FOR ATLANTIS IN CUBA
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Columbus' 'La Isabela' On Hispaniola-First Settlement in New World - UPDATES

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Bianca
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« on: March 20, 2009, 06:50:42 pm »









                           Teeth Of Columbus' Crew Flesh Out Tale Of New World Discovery






ScienceDaily
(Mar. 20, 2009)

— The adage that dead men tell no tales has long been disproved by archaeology.

Now, however, science is taking interrogation of the dead to new heights. In a study that promises fresh and perhaps personal insight into some of the earliest European visitors to the New World, a team or researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison is extracting the chemical details of life history from the teeth of crew members Christopher Columbus left on the island of Hispaniola after his second voyage to America in 1493-94.

"This is telling us about where people came from and what they ate as children," explains T. Douglas Price, a UW-Madison professor of anthropology and the leader of the team conducting an analysis of the tooth enamel of three individuals from a larger group excavated almost 20 years ago from shallow graves at the site of La Isabela, founded by Columbus.

Price and colleague James Burton, in collaboration with researchers from the Autonomous University of the Yucatan in Mexico, are attempting to flesh out the details of a colony that lasted less than five years. The human remains used in the study were buried without the formalities of coffins or shrouds, and were excavated from what was once the church graveyard of the town Columbus established. Headstones and other identifying markers have long since faded to nothing or have been lost entirely during the 500 years since the bodies were first interred.

Despite its brief existence, historians and archaeologists believe La Isabela was a substantial settlement with a church, public buildings such as a customhouse and storehouse, private dwellings and fortifications. It is also the only known settlement in America where Columbus actually lived.

Although the town has been the subject of previous archaeological studies, the work by Price, Burton and their colleague Vera Tiesler and Andrea Cucina of the Autonomous University of the Yucatan is revealing new insight into the people who lived and sailed with Columbus, and who died on the shores of a strange and exotic new world.

Histories of La Isabela, named after Spain's queen and Columbus's patron and located in what is today the Dominican Republic, suggest its population was made up only of men from the fleet of 17 vessels that comprised Columbus's second visit to the New World. But the first analysis of the remains of 20 individuals excavated two decades ago by Italian and Dominican archaeologists portray a different picture, suggesting that living among the Spaniards at La Isabela were native Taínos, women and children, and possibly individuals of African origin. If confirmed, that would put Africans in the New World as contemporaries of Columbus and decades before they were believed to have first arrived as slaves.
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