1996 (Jerome S. Handler) “A Prone Burial from a Plantation Slave Cemetery in Barbados, West Indies: Possible Evidence for an African-type Witch or Other Negatively Viewed Person.” Historical Archaeology 30: 76-86.
Dating to the late 1600s or early 1700s, a burial excavated from a slave cemetery at Newton Plantation in Barbados had several unique characteristics. Buried in the largest artificial earthen mound in the cemetery without grave goods or a coffin, this young adult woman was the solitary interment in the mound and the cemetery’s only prone burial. Her skeleton showed no signs of unusual death although analysis of lead in her bones suggests she suffered from severe lead poisoning. Documentary evidence on Barbados slave culture in general and ethnographic/ethnohistorical evidence on West African mortuary practices suggest interpretations for this burial: She may have been a witch or some other negatively viewed person with supernatural powers who, following African custom, was feared or socially ostracized.