W5 Reflection Post

After reading the Top Ten Discoveries of 2015, I personally think that the best one was the one titled, “Tracing Slave Origins.”   The title immediately caught my eye and I thought that it was by far the most interesting find out of the ten.  I find the whole topic of slavery and the history behind it to be very intriguing.  So the fact that they were able to find the remains from three slaves and were able to trace their origins is absolutely amazing to me.


Originally, the remains had been discovered by construction workers in 2010.  One thing that I thought was really interesting was that the archaeologists found that their teeth were all intentionally grinded down, which was a key characteristic for people in certain regions in Africa.  However, more context of this discovery was found using “whole-genome capture and next-generation sequencing.”  These methods were necessary due to the lack and fragmentation of the remaining DNA found in the bones.  Based off this DNA analysis they were able to determine all three of the bodies’ origins.  This is very important because it could potentially lead to new information on slave traffic patterns and the origin of where it all began.


One interpretation that was made was when the archaeologists noticed the grinded down teeth.  Just based off that, they assumed that these people were of some sort of African descent.  This gave them a great base to start with when trying to narrow down where exactly each body was from.  With the help of their whole genome sequencing they were able to determine where each person was born and what types of families/tribes they belonged to.


Overall the Top Ten Discoveries of 2015 were all great reads! I found all of them pretty interesting, especially the ones that related to finding human remains and luxurious artifacts.  I was really shocked to read how old some of these findings were! Especially the stone tools that aged to be 3.3 million years old and the cave paintings that dated back to almost 40,000 years ago!  It’s really cool to me how things that old could still be discovered and even dated.  Another shocker that stood out to me was the Bronze Age Bride because she was dated to live around 1370 B.C. and her hair, clothes, and fingernails were still all intact.  All of these discoveries just prove how fascinating it can be to discover remains from the past and use them to interpret what life could have been like so many years ago.

3 thoughts on “W5 Reflection Post

  1. I agree with you about how fascinating this discovery was. I ultimately chose the “New Human Relative” as my number one just because it was an entirely new species, but this one was a very close second! I was also super intrigued about what this means for looking at the slave trade and how it worked, etc. as you mentioned.

    As you also mentioned, the fact that they could narrow down the search immediately to certain regions of Africa based on the carving of the teeth was really amazing. What that told me (and I obviously could be wrong) is that they were most likely brought over as adolescents or adults because I’m assuming they probably wouldn’t have partaken in that particular cultural practice as slaves in a new world, especially if they had been taken as children. Does this mean that they were the first generation to be taken as slaves from their home?

  2. The Bronze Age Bride also caught my attention as well. To find her hair, tooth enamel, fingernails, part of her brain and skin, along with some of her clothing in a remarkable state of preservation is quite fascinating to me. To also be able to tell how much she was migrating back and forth throughout the region was really intriguing to me. By using the strontium isotopes in her tooth enamel to determine where she was residing and at what chronological point in her life that occurred, is beyond interesting to me. Makes me wonder what tales our bodies will tell after we are gone.

  3. – [ ] Great post and insights. I agree with what you said about what surprised you the most. The variation between the discoveries was incredible. I also wonder if scientists will be able to interpret any additional research and information such as Lucy. The way of life they had could have been passed down to today and the modern way of doing things in everyday life. The more and more research that is done brings out discoveries that we would have never imagined. The way the earth changed around the remains was interesting too. The worlds oldest pretzel was a huge discovery in Germany. All the discoveries had meaning.

Leave a Reply