As The Sun Sets , We Remain: A Bioarchaeological Analysis of the Gause Cemetery at Seaside

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jorge R Quintana (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: In 2014 , USA Today reported that the search for family roots was the second most popular hobby in the U.S.. The concomitant recognition by the general public of the forensic and bioarchaeological value of human skeletal remains has , in a few cases , proffered osteological analysis as another form of genealogical research. This study focuses on the excavation of a small cemetery of a politically and economically prominent family in Sunset Beach , NC at the request of a descendant. The osteobiographical approach utilized here provides a detailed , contextualized study of the physical remains to complement other historical data on the family. Three brick burial vaults were excavated in 2017 , recovering the skeletal remains of three potential adult ancestors of the descendant. The adult female (25-34 years old) and two adult males (25-25 years old and 30-39 years old) have paleopathology profiles expected of free landowners in the antebellum Southeastern U.S. based on comparative samples , with almost no lesions indicative of infectious diseases and malnutrition but with poor dental health. In addition , material remains and burial contexts suggest internment the late 18th to early 19th centuries. Survey also indicated the original cemetery bounds stretch beyond its modern limits , intruded upon by modernization. The detailed osteobiographies presented in this study reflect the benefits and limitations of these data for genealogical research and addresses the ethical issues tied to descendant-initiated excavation of cemeteries.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Bioarchaeology, Gause, Cemetery, Tombs, South, Plantation, Graves, Elite, Mortuary

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