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Plantation dig reveals African religion

EASTON, Md., Feb. 14 (UPI) -- A famous plantation in Maryland shows traces of its slaves' African religion, archaeologists say.

A smooth stone found between the bricks of the orangery, an 18th-century greenhouse at the Wye Plantation, appears to be an offering to the Yoruba god of good fortune, anthropologist Mark Leone told The Washington Post.

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Leone's team from the University of Maryland is displaying artifacts of African culture at the Eastern Shore plantation, where abolitionist Frederick Douglass once was a slave.

The team also found African-style charms buried at the entrance of the orangery's slave quarters and pollen from exotic plants the slaves used.

"This is a uniquely American event," Leone said. "It is part of the creation of African-American culture."

The research was funded by the family of Richard Tilghman, who lives on the property his ancestors settled in 1659.

Leone said his team's excavations proved that one of the two rooms off the greenhouse housed the slaves who worked there.

"We dug up two prehistoric projectile points and a coin buried directly in line with the middle of the threshold. This is the kind of signature material that shows religious practices with their origins in Africa," he said.

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