|Painter's reimagining of her funeral.|
This is what I'm talking about when I say white folks are deliberately ignorant of not just everyone else's history, but their own. From Times Online:
Archaeologists have discovered that wealthy black Africans lived in Roman Britain in one of the country’s earliest examples of multiculturalism.Spartacus and Merlin fans...eat your fucking heart out.
Scientific research techniques have established that a lavish grave containing a woman’s skeleton, an ivory bangle, perfume bottle, mirror and jewellery, belonged to a North African member of York’s high society in the 4th century.
Scientific analysis of isotopes from the teeth revealed that water she drank during her childhood had contained minerals likely to have been found in North Africa. Skull measurements have also established that the “Ivory Bangle Lady” was black or of mixed race.
Her sarcophagus, which was made of stone, a sign of immense wealth in Roman Britain, was discovered in 1901 in Bootham, York. The city was then a legionary fortress and civilian settlement called Eboracum, founded by the Romans in AD71.
Her well-preserved remains showed that she was 1.5m (5ft 1in) and aged between 18 and 23. There were no signs of a violent death, and muscle markings showed that she had not lived a strenuous life, suggesting that she was affluent. Among the goods found in her grave was a bone with the inscription “Sor ave vivas in Deo” (Hail, sister, may you live in God), suggesting that she may also have been a Christian.
A bracelet of jet, probably from Whitby, North Yorkshire, showed that she had access to local trade networks. Researchers from the University of Reading’s department of archaeology believe that the ivory bangle, an artefact rarely found in Roman Britain, may have been kept by the woman as a memento of home.
Hella Eckardt, who carried out the study, said: “Multicultural Britain is not just a phenomenon of more modern times. Analysis of the ‘Ivory Bangle Lady’ and others like her, contradicts assumptions about the make-up of Roman-British populations as well as the view that African immigrants were of low status, male and likely to have been slaves.”
She said that “Ivory Bangle Lady” was very wealthy — “absolutely from the top end of York society”.
“The link between slavery and Africans is an early modern one. In the Roman world this simply was not the case. Slaves in Roman times could come from any area.”
She added that inscriptions from that period showed that African people were most often members of the imperialist power’s army. But the latest research on a series of skeletons showed that African men had immigrated to Britain, invariably with the Roman Army, and had brought their wives and children.
Dr. Eckardt continued: “We’re looking at a population mix which is much closer to contemporary Britain than previous historians had suspected. In the case of York, the Roman population may have had more diverse origins than the city has now.
“This skull is particularly interesting, because the stone sarcophagus she was buried in, and the richness of the grave goods, means she was a very wealthy woman.”
And they will; right after this news made headlines 'round the UK, the haters started scribbling fan letters. Gotta love white people, y'all. From the Sound of My Own Voice (a blog so titled mostly likely because no one's really listening):
The Fairy Tale of the Ivory Bangle LadySee what I mean?
A woman’s grave from the Roman era in Britain has made some odd and inaccurate headlines lately. “African origin of Roman York’s rich lady with the ivory bangle”, the Guardian says. “Analysis of Roman grave reveals that York was a multicultural society” claims TimesOnline. And good old BBC states that “Roman remains in York are ‘elite’ African woman”.
Unfortunately there is hardly any real evidence to back this up. The researcher behind these findings , archeologist Hella Eckhardt at Reading University, England, hasn’t even a done a DNA analysis. She has merely noted that the shape of the bones suggest that the woman grew up in a warmer climate than Britain’s and that her skull “suggests mixed ancestry including black features”. That’s the evidence. A lot of people of both Asian and European origin lived in North Africa in Antiquity so the part about the bones doesn’t prove a thing. Then we are left with a skull suggestive of mixed origin and black “features”. Does black features of the skull make it a black person? No doubt Eckhardt would have said so if that was the case.
And how about her social standing? Well there is the fact that she had a sarcophagus with jewellery made of elephant ivory, a mirror and a blue glass perfume jar. A costly funeral no doubt. And the muscle markings show that she was not a manual worker. But does that mean she was “a rich lady” or “elite”? This means she was either rich or someone who was rich took care of her. For all we know she could have been a prostitute or just an exotic companion to some rich Roman lady.
If you find that unlikely consider the case of Adolf Ludvig Gustaf Albrecht Badin Couchi.... He hung out with the royal family in Sweden, had access to the entire castle and lived a life of luxury. He owned two farms and, as you can see on the picture, he was a sharp dresser. Was he rich? Yes and no. He had access to wealth but was himself the Queen’s property, a gift from a nobleman. In reality he was a sort of exotic court jester with no real power or social status. I wonder how Dr Eckhardt would have interpreted his grave if there weren’t any records from the 1700s. No doubt he would have constituted evidence of multiculturalism and been thought of as a man off immense influence.
And yet this Ivory Bangle Lady, who consequently may well have been a white or Asian prostitute, or personal maid of a rich Roman family, is now evidence of a black elite in multicultural Roman Britain.
...All in all, Hella Eckhardt is not much of an archaeologist, but she knows how to make headlines. Liberals who insist that unconditional multiculturalism is a great idea, but moved to a whiter neighborhood as soon as they could afford it, need fairy tales like this one to comfort themselves with. Obama is wearing off and they need a new fix. Well played Dr. Eckhardt.
First of all, I find these sort of dismissive comments hilarious because they're always from bloggers who aren't geneticists, aren't archaeologists, and aren't historians. It's one thing to raise an eyebrow at a director's casting choice, or a writer's attempt at evocative dialogue, or even a celebrity's career motives. Anyone can talk smack about celebrities popular media - that's what they're there for. Science and history, however, are a different ball game.
Notice the need to put the Ivory Bangle Lady "in her place." There's Absolutely No Way she could be a wealthy woman of standing. She HAS to be a maid or a prostitute - after all, it's simply the only possible explanation. The comparison to Adolf Couchi is downright laughable, particularly when the writer himself states that Adolf was in Europe during the 1700s. Pop quiz...when did European enslavement of Africans begin?
This is what I mean about the white obsession with POC in servile, secondary roles, both in fiction and in reality, both in the past and the present, despite the constant protests against being called racists. It is a matter of sheer psychological survival at this point; if they are not on top being adored from every corner of the earth, they can't function. If they can't rewrite history and make false projections for the future, they don't know what to do with themselves. It is a sign of the utmost inner weakening, just as Tim Wise warned his fellow white folks years ago.
A Long Way from Home: Diaspora Communities of Roman Britain
Revealed: The African Queen Who Called York Home in the 4th Century
Little-Known Black History Fact: The Ivory Bangle Lady