Old City Remains Discovery Prompts Protocol Change

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–More than 200 remains discovered earlier this year in Old City, Philadelphia are still waiting to be analyzed and reburied.  The discovery was plagued with problems from the beginning and on June 1, archaeologists from the area came together to prevent similar problems.

Crews dug up bones from the First Baptist Church burial ground at 218 Arch Street and discovered some of Philadelphia’s earliest citizens. People were buried there from 1707 to 1859. The bodies were supposed to be moved by 1859 but that never happened.

Crews in 2017 spent days recovering the remains. It was a race against time as the developers of the site had a strict schedule to follow.

A group of more than 50 people, many historians and archaeologists met inside the Arch Street Meeting House to figure out what to do in the future should a similar situation occur. Doug Mooney is the president of the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum and says the Arch Street dig was full of problems.

More Than 100 Bodies, 70 Coffins Recovered From Construction Site In Old City

“It’s nice to have a crowd that is obviously so passionate about this topic,” Mooney told Eyewitness News.

Other experts say certain organizations that should have helped with the dig just didn’t step up to the plate.  Kimberlee Moran, who was at the June 1 meeting, did step up to the plate. She oversaw the Arch Street dig.

“Initially it was just a box of bones so it didn’t seem like it was going to be the huge project that it turned into,” Moran said.

Moran is a forensic archaeologist with Rutgers University Camden and when she first heard about the bones on Arch Street, she jumped in to help because no one else would.

“We were there working at the site wondering why isn’t anyone coming to stop us? Why is this allowed to happen?” she said.

Moran says the remains which will eventually need to be analyzed, are currently molding in storage containers under Interstate 95.

Moran and her colleagues are trying to raise money so they can move and fully analyze the remains before they are reburied.

If you would like to donate to the project click here. http://arch-street-bones-project-43170.causevox.com/

 

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