Forgotten Bones: Uncovering a Slave Cemetery

October 29, 2020
Forgotten Bones: Uncovering a Slave Cemetery

Imagine you're watching a backhoe dig up the ground for aconstruction project when a round object rolls down a pile of dirtand stops at your feet. You pick it up, brush off some dirt, andrealize you're holding a skull!This is exactly what happened in Albany, New York, in 2005.Workers were putting in new sewer line when a backhoe driver dug upa skull. After police declared the skull wasn't connected to anyrecent crimes, a team of archaeologists took a closer look. Theydetermined the skull was from an African American who had died morethan one hundred years earlier.Suddenly the construction site turned into an archaeologicaldig. Scientists excavated more bones and realized that they hadlocated a long-lost slave cemetery. Slavery had been legal in thenorthern United States, including in New York State, in colonialtimes, but the stories of these slaves are largely unknown. Thissite became just the third slave cemetery ever to be excavated inthe North. See how archaeologists pieced together the truth aboutthese once forgotten bones.