Archaeologist Patrick O’Neill led VOF-BRMNAP staff, Archeological Society of Virginia members, and VOF-BRMNAP volunteers in the charge to clear and map two historic cemeteries on the Preserve this weekend during our Public Archaeology Days event.
The group cleared vegetation, surveyed and mapped each stone thought to be potential grave markers in each cemetery, and made some amazing discoveries – like the exposed top of a headstone found to have engraved words, and plotting over 50 potential graves in one of the cemeteries!
This project is just one part of a larger effort made by preserve staff and our team of volunteers and partnering agencies to discover the cultural history of the preserve and weave together a cultural narrative of the peopled past of the Bull Run Mountains. This has helped us discover one more piece of the history of the preserve, who has historically called this slice of the mountain home, and clues into the nature of their everyday mountain life.
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This is just phase one of our cemetery mapping on the preserve. If you hike on the green trail you may notice pin flags scattered across the woods just next to the trail. Pardon our flagging: these flags are in place to mark potential graves and will remain in the woods for a little while longer until phase 2 begins: checking the efficacy of our mapping when there is less vegetation to obstruct view of the stones.
Check in with preserve staff for updates on this project, and the progress of mapping and learning the overall cultural history of Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve.