The University of Georgia Office of University Architects released the final archaeological report of the study of likely slave remains unearthed at Baldwin Hall during a 2015 expansion project.
UGA OUA sent the 826-page report to the Office of the State Archaeologist on May 23. The report’s completion fulfills a requirement in the 2016 plan approved by the OSA in accordance with state law, the report said.
The university contracted Southeastern Archaeological Services to conduct the study alongside UGA researchers, including anthropology professor Laurie Reitsema. Researchers used ground-penetrating radar, DNA analysis and other methods to study the remains uncovered during the Baldwin Hall expansion. The report includes detailed history of the Old Athens Cemetery, which used to occupy about 7.6 acres and now occupies 2.25 acres.
Some graves were unable to be exhumed from the excavation because they were partially under Baldwin Hall’s foundation, the report said. The building was constructed between 1937 and 1938 under the New Deal, and an annex was built in 1942.
The report’s release follows weeks of protests from students and community leaders who have said the remains were not treated properly. UGA has defended its conduct by saying it followed all guidance of the OSA.
“The University continues to express concern to all who are affected by this matter. It is only through full transparency that we can learn from this difficult situation and continue to honor the legacy of the individuals, most likely slaves and former slaves, whose remains were disturbed by this construction project,” the report said.
The OUA made the report available to the public in the interest of transparency. The report has several co-authors and is the “consummation of extensive efforts drawing on multiple resources.”