Title page for ETD etd-05312005-113524

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Williamson, Christian
URN etd-05312005-113524
Title Sacred Trust: The Voluntary Removal and Reburial of Human Remains from a Historic Cemetery in Louisiana
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Geography & Anthropology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Mary Manhein Committee Chair
Heather McKillop Committee Member
Paul Farnsworth Committee Member
  • archaeology
  • Randolph
  • historic cemetery
  • osteology
Date of Defense 2005-04-08
Availability unrestricted
Members of the Randolph family, a prominent plantation family that has lived in Louisiana since the late eighteenth century, contacted a team of anthropologists from Louisiana State University to help recover thirteen individuals from St. Mary’s Cemetery in Bayou Goula, Louisiana. The cemetery had been abandoned since 1970, its graves overgrown with weeds and desecrated by vandals. Of the thirteen individuals recovered, three sets of remains did not have associated grave markers. These three were taken back to the lab and analyzed using standard forensic procedures. Documentary research on the history of the cemetery, the once associated church, and the Randolph family provided important context for excavation. This thesis presents the project in its entirety with the hope that it will provide a helpful blueprint for both anthropologists and family members who might find themselves involved in the rescue of ancestral remains from historic cemeteries.
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