University of Maryland Archaeologists Find Links Between African Religious Symbols and Christianity

A team of archaeologists at the University of Maryland made an interesting discovery at a decade-long excavation at Wye House, a former plantation near Easton, Maryland, where Frederick Douglass spent some time as a child.

In excavations where an African American tenant farmer’s house once stood in the years immediately following Emancipation, the University of Maryland team found traditional African religious symbols side-by-side with symbols relating to Christianity. At the site they found a cosmogram, a circle with an X inside that is a West Central African religious symbol. They also found a symbol for the blazing chariot wheel mentioned in the Bible’s book of Ezekiel. Eventually, these two symbols merged into one and it remains meaningful to the African American religious community in the area.

Mark P. Leone, a professor of anthropology at the University of Maryland, stated that “no one has found this combination before. Christianity had not erased traditional African spirit practices; it had merged with them to form a potent blend that still thrives today.”

A video about the archaeology project can be seen below.


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  1. Marie Nadine Pierre says:

    Jahnes love. This is a fascinating research project. I am an Anthropologist and I am very interested in Black people’s lives during Slavery. Still, I wish that there were Black researchers involved in the digging. For me that would make the findings and the research more w/holistic. The University of Maryland has a good number of Black Students and Scholars, they should be included. Blessed love.

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