Planning and Protocol Document: Reconciliation and Transfer of African Burial Ground Site Human Remains and Associated Artifacts
This planning and protocol document describes the reconciliation and transfer of over 400 burials and associated artifacts excavated from an eighteenth-century African Burial Ground (ABG) in lower Manhattan in 1991.
After 10 years of research on these remains and materials, their reburial is imminent. Numerous federal, city, and private organizations, as well as the media, will be involved in the reconciliation of the remains and artifacts (which involves a comparison of the original inventory of remains and artifacts to those that are currently present in the repository), the temporary transfer of these remains and objects out of federal control, and their reburial in the very place from which they were unearthed.
A reburial of this size and complexity requires procedures and protocols that outline planning issues, specific protocols to be used during the actual reconciliation and transfer, individual and organizational roles and responsibilities, and issues to be resolved. This planning document will serve to fulfill the needs of transferring such collections and to provide a set of guidelines in a single document for all those involved in the reconciliation and transfer of the remains.
Currently, the remains and artifacts are provided protection by the General Services Administration (GSA) under their cultural resource responsibilities as the land managing agency. These responsibilities are guided by several federal laws and regulations including the Antiquities Act of 1906, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, and 36 CFR Part 79 (Curation of Federally-Owned and Administered Archeological Collections).
To the best of our knowledge, the majority of remains and artifacts are currently housed at Howard University, Washington, D.C.; Artex Fine Arts Services, Landover, Maryland; and the Bowling Green Customs House, New York City. Additionally, samples from the human remains and associated site records are housed in various facilities (see Table 1). Before transferring the remains and artifacts to the temporary custody of the Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA), and subsequently to government storage in New York City for reburial, certain procedures must be undertaken to ensure that GSA’s responsibilities under federal laws and regulations are met.
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
Cite this Record
Planning and Protocol Document: Reconciliation and Transfer of African Burial Ground Site Human Remains and Associated Artifacts. US Army Corps of Engineers Mandatory Center of Expertise for the Curation and Management of Archaeological Collections, St. Louis District. Planning and Protocol Document. St. Louis, MO: US Army Corps of Engineers Mandatory Center of Expertise for the Curation and Management of Archaeological Collections, St. Louis District. 2001 ( tDAR id: 413745) ; doi:10.6067/XCV83T9KDC
Individual & Institutional Roles
Repository(s): University of Maryland ; Howard University, Washington DC ; Bowling Green Customs House, New York City ; Artex Fine Arts Services, Landover, Maryland ; College of William and Mary, Virginia ; University of Oklahoma, Norman ; Hampshire College, Massachusetts
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