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Alexandria Debates Extent Of Archaeology

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So far four burial areas have been identified, and archeologists say many other burial sites could be located throughout Fort Ward Park. Opinions are divided about how much time and effort should be invested to find them all.
Office of Historic Alexandria
So far four burial areas have been identified, and archeologists say many other burial sites could be located throughout Fort Ward Park. Opinions are divided about how much time and effort should be invested to find them all.

Fifty years ago, the city of Alexandria condemned parts of an African-American neighborhood to create Fort Ward Park in time for the centennial of the Civil War, then started driving trucks over unmarked graves. Now that the sesquicentennial has started, the city has started a project to identify burials in four parts of the park.

Glenn Eugster, who lives in neighboring Marlboro Estates, says the city should spend what's necessary to identify all the graves.

"I'd like to talk to the person who decides which bodies are important enough to find and which bodies aren't important enough to find," Eugster says.

But bodies could be scattered all over the park, and finding all of them could take years of digging and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"I think there's an injustice in terms of what the city did, but I'm concerned that spending large sums of money to track down all the graves takes away from getting the larger story out," says Seminary Ridge resident Dave Cavanaugh.

Next month, the City Council will consider spending $75,000 to finish the first phase of archeology. What happens after that is still up for debate.

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