News…

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex in Moundsville continues its monthly lecture and film series at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 26, with a documentary film titled “I Remember, I Believe.”  This 35-minute film tells the story of the discovery, excavation, and reinterment of an African-American cemetery in Georgia and is being shown to celebrate Black History Month. The program is free and open to the public.

The abandoned cemetery was discovered during a road extension project conducted by the Georgia Department of Transportation. New South Associates conducted the archaeological investigation to identify the cemetery’s population and ultimately provide a respectful reburial. The cemetery, known as the Avondale Burial Place, was located in southern Bibb County, Georgia, and was named after nearby Avondale Mill Road.  Researchers, archaeologists, and the local community worked together to identify the African-Americans laid to rest in the cemetery. 

The excavation and study of the remains of the 101 people buried there provide a glimpse into the daily life of people who otherwise would have remained unknown. Analysis of the skeletal remains and grave artifacts provide evidence of the harsh conditions experienced by African-American tenant farmers – conditions that eventually led to the Great Migration and African-American departure from the South for jobs in the industrialized cities of the North.

Archival and genealogical research also identified two families of descendants who visited the cemetery during its excavation and later witnessed the reburial of the deceased. The documentary was coproduced by the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and New South Associates. New South Associates is a women-owned small business providing cultural resource management services, with offices in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

For more information about the lecture or other programs at Grave Creek Mound, contact Andrea Keller, cultural program coordinator, at (304) 843-4128 or email her at [email protected].

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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