Unmarked Graves Found in Lynchburg Cemetery
Lynchburg, VA - There was an incredible find Friday at Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg.
It's way back from the Civil War Era. Archaeologists uncovered around 50 confederate soldier grave sites, and they expect to find dozen more.
"We are making discoveries in these last couple hours that have puzzled people for decades," said Ted Delaney, assistant director of the cemetery.
Old City Cemetery is filled with graves, but most grave sites are not properly honored and marked.
Officials believe 20,000 people are buried there and only 6,000 have a stone.
The Confederate section of the cemetery has long been a mystery: There are markers there, yet records show there are graves.
Randy Lichtenberger from Hurt & Proffitt is the archaeologist.
"This is all unexplored territory. Every bucketful today is something surprising, I think," he said.
The most surprising find at the dig sat just inches below the surface where the ground was red-colored.
For these men, that color is the key to what they're digging for.
"We wanted to find where that soil changed color because that's the grave, that's what we are looking for.," said Delaney.
Judging by the amount of red clay, archaeologists estimate 100 bodies under that ground - most confederate soldiers who died from disease.
Once all grave sites are located, the match-making begins. Fortunately, paper records from 150 years ago are still intact.
"If we can just match those records that were so well kept to what the archaeologists are finding, then we can begin to figure out who is who. That's the next step," said Delaney.
Old City Cemetery is always getting visitors looking for their loved ones among those graves.
Delaney says he hopes to take every one of them to a properly honor and marked tombstone.