No graves on VDOT property

MECHANICSVILLE, VA (WWBT) - Archeologists now say there's no one buried on a piece of VDOT's property for sale in Hanover County. We told you about an unmarked, African-American, burial ground in June off Mechanicsville Turnpike.

A nearby cemetery owner had concerns with a piece of VDOT property for sale that appeared to cut through the burial ground. VDOT did not know there was a burial ground there until we ran our story about this.

VDOT is trying to sell some nearby property that includes a sliver that appears to run through it. Liz Jordan is one of the archeologists checked out the site.

"It's difficult to know where the boundaries of an unmarked cemetery are," Jordan said.  "Especially 50, 60 years after the last person has been interned. If there's no real marking, you tend to lose track of where people are."

Archeologists found three of the seven people believed to be buried here.

"It's still open," she said. "You can see there are no grave shafts on VDOT property and we actually came on either side of the fencing just in case we missed something, to be absolutely sure there are no burials there and there's none there."

Archeologists were looking for signs that someone may have been digging a grave here on VDOT's property. They did find some evidence that someone was digging, but it turns out, it wasn't for a grave, it was for a fence posts.

Kevin Monaghan owns a cemetery, Hanover Memorial Park, just a few feet away from the burial ground. He's the first person to tell us about this. He says he's glad archeologists have now documented this burial ground.

"We know exactly where the graves are," Monaghan said. "We don't have to, in hindsight, go back and go, 'I wish we had done this.' This might be one of the better documented unknown family cemeteries."

Now it can be preserved forever.

"It'll be a documented cemetery for all of time," he said. "This will be one that's not forgotten."

Monaghan has submitted a bid to buy VODT's property so he can incorporate it into Hanover Memorial Park. VDOT used to run a garage for snow plows on the other end of this property.

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