Discovery of possible cemetery reopens a chapter of Miami's history
The crew, working on an affordable housing project in the shadow of Interstate 95, had stumbled upon an apparently long-forgotten burial ground -- and a tantalizing puzzle that has stumped Miami's most knowledgeable archaeologists and historians: Who was buried there, and when? How did the graveyard come to be erased from history and memory? And how and where should the remains be re-interred?
So far, answers have proven elusive. An extensive search since the plot came to light in late April has turned up no names, no records, no official documents indicating there was ever a burial ground on the site -- only two commercial maps, from 1925 and 1936, labeling the place a cemetery.
Citing family lore and personal memories, some longtime Miamians recall an informal burial ground for blacks at the site, which sits just east of I-95, sandwiched between 71st Street and the Florida East Coast Railroad tracks.
A preliminary analysis of the bones suggests they may have belonged to black people, but the conclusion is far from definitive, said Bob Carr, a South Florida archaeologist hired by the project's developers to investigate the find. The nails are of a type used in the early 20th Century, a fact that may date the graves to that period.
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