Photograph by Ira Block
Symbols of slaverys barbarity, iron shackles told archaeologists for certain what type of ship had wrecked in 1700 at New Ground Reef off the Florida Keys. More than 80 of these restraints, two of them padded with twine (above), were recovered from Henrietta Maries remains. The twine was used to prevent chafing, says marine archaeologist David Moore. But it was an economic thing, not a humane one. Fewer scars on the slaves meant higher value. Whether it was commonplace to wrap the iron loops remains a mystery. Ive never seen it documented in the historical records, he says.