For Immediate Release: May 19, 2017
The City of Alexandria has announced that archaeologists under contract with a developer have found burial remains appearing to represent two individuals, at the construction site in Old Town where Robinson Terminal South was previously located. The finding is consistent with the use of the site in the 1700s and 1800s, when the deceased were not always buried in cemeteries.
“This is another exciting discovery in our ongoing efforts to understand and preserve Alexandria’s history,” said J. Lance Mallamo, director of the Office of Historic Alexandria. “We are committed to treating these remains with respect while determining who they may have been and what the most appropriate course of action will be based on their discovery.”
State law strictly regulates how human remains are to be handled. A permit from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources is required to investigate any human skeletal remains and associated artifacts. The developer obtained a state permit to investigate the site, and the remains were located on May 18.
The City will oversee an analysis to help determine next steps. State law provides for specific processes for relocating human remains. As part of a private construction site, the remains are not open to public view.
The Alexandria Archaeological Protection Code requires developers to have archaeologists on site to monitor all phases of ground disturbance. This ensures that any historic features encountered during demolition and construction are dealt with properly. As development of the Alexandria waterfront continues, excavations have the potential to unearth additional evidence of early wharves and piers, maritime vessels, early industries, and commercial and domestic activities.
For more information about Alexandria Archaeology, visit www.alexandriava.gov/Archaeology