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Child's Sock

Source

Archaeologist W. M. Flinders Petrie found this child's sock, dated to the 2nd century C.E., in a cemetery at Oxyrhyncus, a Greek monastic centre on the banks of the Nile in Egypt. The sock is made of wool yarn in a technique called "sprang," or loop knitting, in which short pieces of yarn were looped in a circular pattern using a needle. The sock features a separate section for the large toe... Read More »

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Children in the Slave Trade Table

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The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM, edited by David Eltis, Stephen D. Behrendt, David Richardson, and Herbert S. Klein, contains the best quantitative evidence to date on the number of Africans sold into the slave trade. A collection of trader inventories, the CD-Rom serves as a searchable database of voyages that took place during from the 16th to 19th centuries.... Read More »

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Children's Tunics

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These two children's tunics, found in Egypt by archaeologist Wm. Flinders Petrie, date to the Islamic period, 9th or 10th century. The blue tunic measures 45.5 cm long and 51 cm wide (18 x 20 inches). The tunic is made of three different fabrics cut from an adult garment into 11 separate pieces, with sleeves and side gores. Red and white zigzag patterned bands decorate the neck and sleeves,... Read More »

Claude Antoine Rozet Paintings

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One of the first tasks undertaken by the French military after the 1830 invasion was to visually depict, and thus classify, places, things, and people so as to rule more effectively. This is a pattern seen in all modern colonial regimes worldwide. To this end, in addition to cannons, rifles, and supplies, the French expedition also included a cohort of skilled artists and draftsmen. Since... Read More »

Copper-alloy cast crucifix, with two kneeling figures resting on bar above hands, with a third projecting below the central figure's feet.

Crucifix (Nkangi Kiditu)

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This cross or cosmogram from the 17th century shows the way in which the Kongolese understanding of Christianity incorporated traditional thinking and is in essence both a good example of syncretism and a warning. It shows the four moments of the sun and integrates magical protective properties that are a part of this matrilineal culture. Yes, the cross is also a typical Christian symbol and... Read More »

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Cultural Contact in Southern Africa: Law, Alcohol Sale

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The following law suggests that slaves and Khoikhoi were considered particularly prone to alcohol addiction. There is some anecdotal evidence that this was a common stereotype held by Europeans at the Cape. Some scholars argue that alcoholism may indeed have been more prevalent among the Khoikhoi and African slaves because indigenous fermented drinks were not as strong as those brewed by... Read More »

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Cultural Contact in Southern Africa: Law, Slave Women and Children

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Although marriage was not forbidden between Europeans and slaves or other non-Europeans, it was quite rare and entailed a drop in social status for the European. Nevertheless, sexual relationships occurred—sometimes coerced, sometimes by mutual agreement. The children born to slave women by these relationships were seldom openly acknowledged by their fathers, and thus usually followed the fate... Read More »

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Cultural Contact in Southern Africa: Letters, Johanna Maria van Riebeeck

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Johanna Maria van Riebeeck (1679-1759) was from an elite family in the Dutch colonial network. She was the granddaughter of Jan van Riebeeck, first Dutch Commander at the Cape, who went on to hold important posts in the Dutch government in Batavia (Indonesia), and the daughter of Abraham van Riebeeck, Governor-General of Batavia. She made three advantageous marriages, and died a very wealthy... Read More »

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Cultural Contact in Southern Africa: Will, Laurens Verbrugge and Beletje Frederikszoon

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Laurens Verbrugge and Beletje Frederikszoon were ordinary people from Holland who settled in Stellenbosch (near Cape Town) and took up farming there. Though not wealthy, they did own slaves and had sufficient property that they felt the need to draw up a will when Beletje became ill. Note the Christian beliefs expressed in the wording of the will.

Laurens was Beletje’s second husband,... Read More »

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Dan Passport Masks

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This small, mask ( 9.5 cm high and 5 cm wide) carved from wood is called a "passport" mask because it was worn on the body, kept in a leather pouch, or sewn onto a piece of cloth to represent group or family affiliation. Passport masks are used by the Dan people, a group of several hundred thousand people in the western part of the Côte d’Ivoire and into Liberia. They live in a forested region... Read More »

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