UGA will rebury African-American remains unearthed during construction

The University of Georgia will rebury the remains of 105 bodies, some of which are African-American, that it discovered when expanding a building.

In December 2015, construction to expand Baldwin Hall was temporarily halted after workers found grave sites. The grave sites were part of Old Athens Cemetery, which is adjacent to Baldwin Hall and served as the official town cemetery for most of the 19th century.

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Archaeologists from Southeastern Archaeological Services Inc. and bioarchaeologists from the UGA Department of Anthropology exhumed the remains.

The remains will be reburied in Oconee Hill Cemetery during a public ceremony on March 20 at 3p.m. UGA President Jere Morehead will speak at the ceremony.

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“We are taking the necessary steps to ensure that these men, women and children are reinterred with the dignity and respect that they deserve," said Greg Trevor, UGA executive director of media communications.

DNA samples from 30 of the bodies revealed that most of the remains were of African-Americans. Laurie Reitsema, an assistant professor in the university's anthropology department, will release research findings about the remains later this spring.

Baldwin Hall houses the School of Public and International Affairs and the departments of sociology and anthropology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. It was constructed in 1938. 

The expansion will provide technology-enabled active learning classrooms, added office space and common areas for presentations and events. It will also improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

Construction resumed in March 2016, and the expanded building will be re-dedicated in June. 

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