University of South Florida researchers have finished the first phase of their project to dig up the bodies of boys believed to be buried on the grounds of the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.
Tuesday was the researchers’ last day for the weekend dig, but lead researcher Erin Kimmerle says they’ll be back soon. She says they’re on target to complete the excavation in about a year after finding skeletal remains along with coffin hardware, such as handles and nails.
“Preliminary analysis of dental remains suggests they’re probably 10 to 15 years old. All the analysis will be done in Tampa, and we’ll send samples off for DNA. So today, we’re just cleaning up the site. We’ll refill the holes, try to restore it to how it looked when we got here, and we’ll be back this fall when it’s drier and cooler," said Kimmerle.
Kimmerle hopes to come back in October, but bad weather could result in a November return. Stormy conditions over the weekend resulted in the researchers excavating just two burial sites. They’ll now try to identify those buried in the graves and how they died, and attempt to contact that person’s family. Researchers last year identified 50 unmarked graves on the grounds of the Dozier school, where many boys are said to have suffered abuse.
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