Elko Switch Cemetery - Interesting Book

  • Sunday, November 25, 2018 8:31 AM
    Message # 6931500

    A friend of mine shared an interesting book, "Elko Switch Cemetery: An Archaeological Perspective." It's a report of investigation by the Alabama State Museum of Natural History, Division of Archaeology on a cemetery that was discovered in 1965 during construction of a road, 1000 ft north of Redstone Arsenal Gate No. 9 in Alabama.

    In the report, it is speculated why no information could be found on this cemetery, which may have been in use during the 1800s. One theory is that because the county passed a cemetery ordinance in 1925, requiring the marking and maintenance of existing cemeteries (which would devalue the property), it is conceivable that the landowner knew of this ordinance before hand and intentionally removed the headstones and plowed the area to escape these inconveniences.  This theory seems plausible to me, as I know of one such instance in Chattahoochee Hills, GA.

    The report is fascinating to me. As much as I love historic cemeteries and have worked on my share in Chatt Hills, I've never seen the complete process of recording a cemetery for the purpose of potentially moving the graves. From carefully unearthing the graves, and documenting the caskets, remains, and artifacts, to identifying the remains by gender and age -- what a tremendous amount of work and effort.

    Sadly this excellent report is out of print, but it is available at several university libraries:
    http://www.worldcat.org/title/elko-switch-cemetery-an-archaeological-perspective/oclc/21339951 

    And an excellent summary report with photos is available at the following link:
    http://huntsvillehistorycollection.org/hh/hhpics/pdf/rankin/ElkoSwitchCemetery_20_1_SummaryReport.pdf

    While this report covers a cemetery outside of Georgia, it may be of interest in the event you may sometime need information on moving a cemetery.


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