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Ruins of slave port unearthed in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 5 (UPI) -- The remains of a notorious slave port were uncovered during renovations of the Rio de Janeiro harbor, officials say.

Tania Andrade Lima of the National Museum told The Guardian archaeologists believe they have found structures from the Valongo wharf, where thousands of slaves were brought in from Africa, held and sold from 1818 to 1830.

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The excavation is part of a project to renovate the port for the 2016 Olympics.

"It is a moving experience, seeing an existing city and then another city 2 meters below. You feel a bit like Indiana Jones," said Washington Fajardo, Rio's secretary for cultural heritage.

"The Valongo wharf area has a strong symbolism for Afro-Brazilian descendants in our city," Lima said.

Robert Walsh, a British clergyman, described the scene in 1828. "The poor creatures are exposed for sale like any other commodity," he wrote.

"They were all doomed to remain on the spot, like sheep in a pen, till they were sold; they have no apartment to retire to, no bed to repose on, no covering to protect them; they sit naked all day, and lie naked all night."

Fajardo said the city plans to incorporate the finds into the new port's design.

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