Wednesday, May 10, 2017

motherlode of remains in Mississippi

The University of Mississippi has an estimated 7,000 bodies underneath it. The university was buried on the property of an insane asylum which existed 1855-1935. After the Civil war some 6,000 patients were in the asylum, peaking its population. During various construction projects in 1990s and 2013-2014 over 1,000 coffins were found. See https://www.umc.edu/News_and_Publications/Centerview/2013-04-01-00_Former_asylum_patients__resting_place_unearthed_on_UMMC_campus.aspx
for more information.

More construction plans and coffins led to ground penetrating radar finding at least 2,000 narrow coffins tightly buried in formation all over the property from the insane asylum. The university's anthropology dept.  predicted coffins would be found. The numbers are staggering, most are unidentified. See http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/08/us/mississippi-unmarked-graves/

The medical center and a consortium hopes to study the human and related remains respectfully for scholarly and teaching purposes, build a memorial, and rebury the remains on campus in a special graveyard. Estimated reburial costs are huge but the university doing it would not cost as much as a third party. The university thinks it can rebury them all for $400,000 over the next 8 years. It is largest group of remains of the poor and institutionalized found in the US and has the potential for great research, which has the potential to "... make Mississippi a national centre on historical records relating to health in the pre-modern period, particularly those being institutionalised." Read more about it here http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39849068

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