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An Examination of Possible Mass Burials in Pensacola, Florida’s Historic St. Michael’s Cemetery

Author(s): Nicole Rosenberg Marshall

Year: 2014

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St. Michael’s Cemetery is the oldest extant cemetery in Pensacola, Florida. Platted in 1810, the cemetery was in use through the epidemic events that regularly swept Northwest Florida. Between 1810 and 1905, 1,399 documented deaths occurred during epidemic outbreaks, and of those deaths only 69 are accounted for within the cemetery. These numbers indicate that burials due to epidemics are likely unaccounted for within the cemetery. To investigate the possibility of unmarked burials, a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey was conducted in 2008. This survey identified 3,915 sub-surface anomalies, many of which are larger than would be expected for single interments. Researchers hypothesized that these large anomalies are indicative of mass burials dating to epidemic events. To test this hypothesis, excavations were conducted during 2009, 2010, and 2011. This paper summarizes the methods, results, and conclusions of the research conducted in St. Michael’s Cemetery and presents suggestions for future studies.

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An Examination of Possible Mass Burials in Pensacola, Florida’s Historic St. Michael’s Cemetery. Nicole Rosenberg Marshall. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436844)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-32,03

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America