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Slave trade era church unearthed off African coast

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  12 Nov 2015 12:00 AM GMT

London, November 11: Archaeologists from the University of Cambridge have unearthed a European Christian church on a Cabo Verde island, 500 km off the coast of West Africa - where the Portuguese established a stronghold to start the first commercial links with Africa. This turned into a global trade in African slaves from the 16th century, in which Cabo Verde played a central part as a major trans-shipment centre. This church is the oldest formal European colonial building yet discovered in sub-Saharan Africa, according to researchers.

The earliest remains of the church of Nossa Senhora da Conceicao date from around 1470, with a further larger construction dating from 1500. Extensions and a re-cladding of the church with tiles imported from Lisbon have also been documented.

“We’ve maged to recover the entire footprint-plan of the church, including its vestry, side-chapel and porch, and it now presents a really striking monument,” said Christopher Evans, director of Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU).

“Evidently constructed around 1500, the most complicated portion is the east-end’s chancel where the main altar stood,” he said. (IANS)

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