Women’s Civic Forum: Archaeologist author to speak on lost cemeteries as historic record and sacred space

June 9, 2015

jen pitcrop
Press Release: What happens when a real estate developer’s backhoe unexpectedly pulls up human remains? What is the responsibility of the living toward the resting places of those long dead?

Globe-trotting Pensacola bioarchaeologist Jennifer E. Mack will address these questions and others at the Women’s Civic Forum on Wednesday, June 17, in a program titled “Unearthing Lost Cemeteries: Archaeology as an Act of Remembrance.” Citing her experiences in the excavation of a forgotten cemetery in Dubuque, Iowa, Mack will discuss the issues surrounding such projects as more and more burial grounds give way to development.

The Dubuque excavation was unique, Mack says, in that it is likely the largest Catholic cemetery to have been excavated in the Midwest to date and represented a socioeconomic cross section of a 19th century urban American population. University of Iowa Press deemed the excavation findings significant and invited the project team to submit a manuscript summarizing the history of the cemetery and the post-excavation analysis. It was published earlier this year as Dubuque’s Forgotten Cemetery: Excavating a Nineteenth-Century Burial Ground in a Twenty-First-Century City by Robin M. Lillie and Jennifer E. Mack.

The Forum will be held at noon (doors open at 11:45) in the meeting room of IHMC, 40 South Alcaniz Street in downtown Pensacola. It is free and open to the public.

An alumna of Washington High School and Emory University, Mack has worked on excavations in Ireland, Germany, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Uzebekistan, and seven U.S. states. She is also a co-author of In Praise of Small Things: Death and Life at the Late Neolithic-Early Bronze Age Burial at Bolores, Portugal. She is currently working on the osteological analysis and report following the excavation of a forgotten poor-farm cemetery in Deland, Florida, that will be the site of a hospital addition.

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