Archaeologists find unique, early US relic of African bomb

By | October 22, 2008

University of Maryland archaeologists have dug up what they believe to be one of the earliest U.S. examples of African spirit practices. The researchers say it’s the only object of its kind ever found by archaeologists in North America – a clay “bundle” filled with small pieces of common metal, placed in what had been an Annapolis street gutter three centuries ago. The bundle appears to be a direct transplant of African religion, distinct from hoodoo and other later practices blending African and European traditions. … About the size of a football, the compacted clay and sand bundle originally sat in clear public view stationed in front of a house. X-rays show the object served as a container holding hundreds of pieces of lead shot, pins and nails intended to ward off or redirect spirits. A prehistoric stone axe extends upward from the top of the bundle. … The Maryland team discovered the bundle four feet below Fleet Street in the Annapolis historic district – about 1,000 feet from the Maryland statehouse. It sat in the gutter of a much earlier unpaved street on a hill overlooking an inlet. Water would have run down the gutter, making it a vital conduit for spirits and a strategic spot to place a powerful charm, Leone says.

The bundle measures about 10 inches high, six inches wide and four inches thick. It remains intact, held together by the sand and clay. X-rays taken at the state of Maryland’s conservation facility reveal the bundle’s contents – about 300 pieces of lead shot, 25 common pins and a dozen nails. The blade of the stone axe points upward.

Originally, some kind of cloth or animal hide probably wound around the bundle forming a pouch that held the metal objects. But it has long since decomposed….

“The use of compacted clay and iron materials points to the African origin of this bundle,” Lamp says. “Combining these materials was believed to increase the spiritual power of the objects.” – physorg

The object was from the year 1700 in what is now Annapolis, Maryland, USA. Here is some history of the area:

Maryland was inhabited by Indians as early as circa 10,000 B.C. Permanent Indian villages were established by circa A.D. 1000.The Paleo-Indians who came more than 10,000 years ago from other parts of North America to hunt mammoth, great bison and caribou. By 1,000 B.C., Maryland had more than 8,000 Native Americans in about 40 different tribes. Most of them spoke Algonquian languages. … 1572 AD – Pedro Menendez de Aviles, Spanish governor of Florida, explored Chesapeake Bay.- eref

In 1637 [A.D.] St. Mary’s was created as Maryland’s first county – encompassing all of then-Maryland Colony.

Why assume people were stupid? Why is anything anachronistic interpreted as a nonsensical religious spiritual charm to ward off demons?  What if prehistoric people were practical? This magical “bundle” is obviously a bomb which failed to detonate. Africa had gun powder since at least the 1400’s and the stuff inside the bundle is obviously shrapnel. No, they didn’t find any traces of gun powder, but I doubt they looked, … because they are busy making up new names for evil spirits this powerful bundle was made to thwart.

Gunpowder reached North Africa about the same time as it reached Europe, but across the Sahara Desert in West Africa and East Africa people did not know much about it until about 200 years later, when Portuguese explorers used cannon to attack them in the late 1400’s AD.- historyforkids

0 thoughts on “Archaeologists find unique, early US relic of African bomb

  1. Ann

    You made me laugh: “This magical “bundle” is obviously an bomb which failed to detonate.”

    I followed the link, you supplied, but, I didn’t see it mentioned that the bundle contained gunpowder.

    What is interesting is that African worship survived through the horrendous hardships slavery and enslavement. I think this is really cool. I studied African cultures and this “bundle” contained items that one might identify with certain Western African religions as the article pointed out.

    African religion is really quite interesting. Unlike most people in the supposedly more advanced societies who presume a high spiritual order of sorts based “faith” or “belief”, I found Africans want proof of a, if you will, concrete spirituality. They’re are not easily led with hoaxes and fabrications and displays of showmanship. When I was in East Africa, for example, I hung around healers/medicine men/spirit workers/witch doctor or whatever you want to call them and they had to often prove their authenticity to a new patient or client. And, to make matters more difficult, client would often lie to the native healer, if he was asked to reveal something about him or herself. The underlying notion being, if the guy is healer/witch or whatever, he should know a lie from the truth and if he or she can’t tell the difference … see ya!

    If you can, you should read, among other sources, “Healers in the Night” by a Jesuit priest who was initiated into sorcery.

    The world is far more complicated than modern science wants us to believe. But, hey, there is no reason to give science credit for making inroads in certain facets of reality.

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