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DOVER, Del. (CBS) — Archaeologists have unearthed what appears to be an African American cemetery in Deleware. The discovery was made when crews were working at a property near Frankford.
Archaeologists and the Delaware State Historic Preservation Office found nine graves at the site, which is known as the Orr Property or Hall Plantation.
A headstone bearing the name C.S. Hall and the lines “Co. K, 32nd U.S.C.T” was found at the site.
Officials say U.S.C.T. is an abbreviation for U.S. Colored Troops, the designation for units made up of African American soldiers during the Civil War.
“This cemetery is a significant discovery for the community and for all Delawareans who value and appreciate our state’s rich history,” said Tim Slavin, director of the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, which oversees the State Historic Preservation Office. “As work continues at the site, we hope to learn more about those who are interred there, so that they may be properly memorialized and their personal stories retold.”
No further information is known about the identities of those buried at the site. Officials can also not say at this time whether enslaved persons were buried at the site.
Despite the location being private property, officials say the landowner has said the cemetery will be preserved.
“I would also like to thank the neighbors nearby for their role in calling attention to the presence of a cemetery here,” Slavin said. “Their recollections and local knowledge about the site and its location were key to discovering these burials. They spoke up, and thanks to them we can add a new page to Delaware history.”