Dirt flies as diggers search for remains of the man Andrew Jackson shot in 1806

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Nashville | On Saturday morning, cars jammed the street outside James and Laura Jane Bowen’s home. Friends chatted in the yard, hands around coffee cups.

With history buffs and curious neighbors looking on, an archaeologist directed the excavation of the Bowens’ lawn in search of a 201-year-old grave and, possibly, the resolution of a long-standing historical puzzle.

The dig’s goal was to solve a mystery over the grave of Charles Henry Dickinson, who was killed in an 1806 duel with a future president, Andrew Jackson. The location of Mr. Dickinson’s final resting place has been in contention since the 1960s, when historians in Maryland claimed to have found his coffin.

“The day we moved in, the guys across the street came in and said, ‘Have you heard about the body? Are you going to help excavate it?’ ” said Mr. Bowen, as he watched with his daughter, Lily, in his arms.

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