West African religious traditions varied widely, ranging from Islam, to various tribal faiths, to some Christianity. The different tribal faiths had a number of common patterns. These included a belief in a "high god" and a recognition of a lively and active spirit world, which interacted daily with the lives of men. A common belief was that the spirit of the deceased lived at the bottom of a river or a body of water. The grave pictured here, located outside of Florence, is a reflection of that belief. The cement vault top has been painted silver and carved with ripples to make it look like flowing water.
Courtesy of Robert Weyeneth, University of South Carolina Public History Department