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Distant freedom"St Helena and the abolition of the slave trade, 1840-1872"$
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Andrew Pearson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781781382837

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781382837.001.0001

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Life and Death in the Depots

Life and Death in the Depots

(p.106) Chapter Four Life and Death in the Depots
Distant freedom

Andrew Pearson

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the operation of St Helena’s Liberated African Establishment, and the experiences of those within it. In its first part it discusses the organisational structure of the Establishment: the Europeans who staffed it, and the physical form of two depots at Lemon Valley and Rupert’s Valley to which the liberated Africans were consigned. In the second part, it relates the experiences of the Africans within those depots, which in the modern era would be understood in terms of a refugee camp, or camp for displaced persons. There are two strands here: the rigid regime that was proscribed for the Africans by the British; and the lives that the recaptives made for themselves. Death, too, was integral to the depots and the final part of the chapter therefore comes to rest on the graveyards. Here, archaeology plays a major part. Skeletal and artefactual evidence generated from excavation of the graveyards in 2008 provide considerable insight into the process of death and burial, about which the textual sources are largely silent.

Keywords:   Archaeology, Lemon Valley, Liberated African Establishment, Refugee camp, Rupert’s Valley

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