The Archaeology of Historic Laurel Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland

Author(s): Ronald Castanzo; Elgin Klugh

Year: 2018


Laurel Cemetery was created in 1852 in Baltimore, Maryland, as a nondenominational burial place for African Americans in the city. By the 1930s, after perhaps several thousand people were interred at the site, the cemetery company had become insolvent, and the grounds were no longer being maintained. After the property was sold in the 1950s, the cemetery was demolished in preparation for what would become a shopping center. Approximately 300-400 burials were moved, but it was not known how many, if any, burials remained at the site. The Laurel Cemetery Project, conceived as a public anthropology endeavor, combines archaeology, ethnology, history, and community outreach. The main goal of the archaeology component of the project was to determine if any human remains were still located at the Laurel site. Archaeology fieldwork concluded in the summer of the 2017, and involved remote sensing and the excavation of six test units. Wood and metal remnants of several caskets were uncovered in the excavations, in addition to several pieces of human bone. A ground penetrating radar survey, conducted in limited sections of the property, indicates that many burials remain, both in unpaved areas and under the parking lot.

Cite this Record

The Archaeology of Historic Laurel Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. Ronald Castanzo, Elgin Klugh. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444749)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21578