Clemson University is working to learn the identities of those buried in 604 unmarked graves on its campus’ Woodland Cemetery, Greenville News reported.
The graves may date back more than 200 years ago and may belong to “enslaved peoples, domestic workers, sharecroppers and convict laborers who lived, worked and died on the university’s land in the 1800s,” Greenville News reported.
According to Clemson, the sites are equal in number to the known gravesites.
“Long before a university or a college campus community, this place was an African American community,” University Historian Paul Anderson said.
“So if you’re looking at a burial ground that might have been in use as early as that era (1810), then extended its use for another century, the notion of 600 graves somehow becomes more manageable,” Anderson said.
With surveying mostly done, Anderson will now go through archives and census data to discover the identities of those buried at Woodland. Meanwhile, Dr. Rhondda Thomas, the Calhoun Lemon Professor of History at Clemson, is looking through family histories to potentially connect living descendants with ancestors at Woodland.