Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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City Hall Bones Update Volume 53 Number 2, March/April 2000
by Marilyn Anderson

Controversy still surrounds the bones found last year during renovation of New York's City Hall Park (see "Cover-up at City Hall?" September/ October 1999). Three skeletons were found in the park's northwest corner and, in its northeast corner, a pit with partial skeletons of at least 12 infants, three pits with about 12 adults in each, and about 25 graves, mostly of women and children, were excavated. Intact burials were encased in reinforced-concrete shells and re-interred this past August, even as archaeologists and community members protested the rapid reburial without study. Other remains were taken to the Smithsonian for analysis. In a mid-December meeting last year, Smithsonian anthropologists outlined their research plan to an invited audience including representatives of politicians and interest groups concerned with the nearby African Burial Ground as well as Howard University's Michael Blakey, who is studying the remains from it. Attendees were reportedly unhappy that decisions concerning the City Hall bones had been made without community involvement. A follow-up meeting is planned for this April. For more on the bones, see "Under City Hall Park."

© 2000 by the Archaeological Institute of America