Texas Historical Commission
Archeological involvement in the exhumation of relatively recent historic cemeteries is a new development in Texas. Traditionally, archeologists have directed their attention toward the burial practices of aboriginal peoples and have shied away from any dealings with the excavations of late nineteenth and early twentieth century cemeteries. This trend has continued despite an ever-increasing awareness of and concern with changing modes of historic and recent tombstone embellishment on the part of archeologists, cultural anthropologists and historians. In practice, tombstones have been studied sporadically but the tasks of relocation and reinterment of the physical human remains have been left to undertakers and professional cemetery movers. The present report authored by Mary Jane McReynolds describes the results of limited archeological investigations at the Laredo Cemetery Site (4lWB22j in the City of Laredo, Texas. The investigations resulted from an emergency situation in which a forgotten cemetery was rediscovered in the midst of a construction project. The need for rapid action precluded the development of a thorough problemoriented research design and consequently led to the adoption of a severely limited scope of investigations. Despite ! these problems, Ms. McReynolds has presented significant new data for archeologists in terms of coffin styles, coffin decorations, and artifacts associated with various interments. While the report is not intended to be exhaustive, it does recount some of the problems encountered in this type of investigation and provides general suggestions for directing future research in historic cemetery sites.
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