Forgotten Bones

ebook Uncovering a Slave Cemetery

By Lois Miner Huey

cover image of Forgotten Bones

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An ordinary construction project uncovers an extraordinary archaeological discovery.

Imagine you're watching a backhoe dig up the ground for a construction project when a round object rolls down a pile of dirt and stops at your feet. You pick it up, brush off some dirt, and realize you're holding a skull!

This is exactly what happened in Albany, New York, in 2005. Workers were putting in new sewer line when a backhoe driver dug up a skull. After police declared the skull wasn't connected to any recent crimes, a team of archaeologists took a closer look. They determined the skull was from a Black person who had died at least one hundred years earlier.

Suddenly the construction site turned into an archaeological dig. Scientists excavated more bones and realized that they had located a long-lost cemetery for enslaved people from the 1700s. Slavery had been legal in the northern United States, including in New York State, in colonial times, but the stories of these enslaved people are largely unknown. This site became just the third slave cemetery ever to be excavated in the North. See how archaeologists pieced together the truth about these once forgotten bones.

"A fascinating glimpse into how archaeologists piece together the past."—Booklist

Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year

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Forgotten Bones