Uncovering a Slave Cemetery
An ordinary construction project uncovers an extraordinary archaeological discovery.
Imagine you’re watching a backhoe dig up the ground for a construction project when a round object rolls down a pile of dirt and stops at your feet. You pick it up, brush off some dirt, and realize you’re holding a skull!
This is exactly what happened in Albany, New York, in 2005. Workers were putting in new sewer line when a backhoe driver dug up a skull. After police declared the skull wasn’t connected to any recent crimes, a team of archaeologists took a closer look. They determined the skull was from a Black person who had died at least one hundred years earlier.
Suddenly the construction site turned into an archaeological dig. Scientists excavated more bones and realized that they had located a long-lost cemetery for enslaved people from the 1700s. Slavery had been legal in the northern United States, including in New York State, in colonial times, but the stories of these enslaved people are largely unknown. This site became just the third slave cemetery ever to be excavated in the North. See how archaeologists pieced together the truth about these once forgotten bones.
“A fascinating glimpse into how archaeologists piece together the past.”—Booklist
Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year
|Interest Level||Grade 4 - Grade 8|
|Reading Level||Grade 4|
|Genre||Nonfiction, Social Studies|
|Category||5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction, Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diversity|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Millbrook Press ™|
|Number of Pages||56|
|Reading Counts! Level||9.2|
|Text Type||Narrative Nonfiction|
|BISACS||JNF018010, JNF052010, JNF025190|
|Dimensions||8 x 10|
|Guided Reading Level||X|
|ATOS Reading Level||6.9|
|Accelerated Reader® Quiz||175635|
|Accelerated Reader® Points||2.0|
|Features||Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Maps, Photo captions, Reviewed, Teaching Guides, Timeline, and eSource|
- Maine Student Book Award Reading List
- Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year - Outstanding Merit
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Huey, a New York state archaeologist, ably guides readers through the excavation . . . and the way comparative studies broaden our perspective on the rigors of slave life.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“[A] fascinating glimpse into how archaeologists piece together the past . . . this account provides a vivid description of both the eighteenth-century slave experience and the field of archaeology.”—Booklist
School Library Journal
“A solid choice for libraries that serve middle school students, this title will appeal to some would-be archaeologists and is a great addition to classrooms as well.”—School Library Journal
“A fascinating, informative insider’s look at how science is used to reconstruct the past.”—Kirkus Reviews
Author: Lois Miner Huey
Lois Miner Huey is an archaeologist for the state of New York. She has written nonfiction articles and books for kids, many of which focus on archaeology. She lives near Albany, New York.
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An ordinary construction project uncovers an extraordinary archaeological discovery. Imagine you’re watching a backhoe dig up the ground for a construction project when a round object rolls down a pile of dirt and stops at your feet. You pick it up,… View available downloads →