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The Archaeology Channel held their annual International Film and Video Festival in Eugene, Oregon last week, and I Remember, I Believe was recognized for Best Script and Best Music and received Honorable Mention in three other categories including Best Film!   The results the film festival can be found at:





GDOT has recently been approached by Lain Graham, a graduate student at Georgia State University with a request to conduct further isotopic analysis using the enamel dust left over from the oxygen radioisotpe analysis conducted in 2011. Lain worked on the recovery and shares the same faculty advisor with the mortuary archaeologist who conducted the 2011 research.  Her advisor suggested that the samples of the dust, which have been stored at GSU’s Bio-archaeology lab, be used to conduct strontium isotope analysis.  This could give information on the migratory status of some of the individuals and could show that some migrated from other areas…..or not. This information would be made available to future researchers and could provide the descendants with a little more information regarding the origins of the individuals laid to rest at Avondale Burial Place. 

Lain is pursuing a grant to do this work.  Results should be available 9-12 months after funding for the research is secured. She will be keeping us updated on her progress and the results. Good luck, Lain!

The Archaeology Channel is holding their annual International Film and Video Festival in Eugene, Oregon in May 2013.  Chad submitted I Remember I Believe, and we were notified in December that it was selected to be viewed.  There were 79 films submitted from 22 countries and only 18 were selected for viewing!  Chad will be attending and will also be presenting a paper about capturing cultural history on film. We are delighted that those buried at Avondale Burial Place continue to tell their story.   Information about the film festival and the other films to be screened can be found at



Matt Matternes has written an article about Avondale Burial Place for Reflections, a publication that highlights African-American historic resources in Georgia.  Find it at:


Dedication Day

Family and friends of the cemetery relocation project gathered at the Bethel AME Church on Tuesday, February 21 to dedicate the new resting place of the 101 individuals originally interred at Avondale Burial Place.

The acquisition of land for the relocation cemetery is complete, and the remains of the 101 individuals recovered from Avondale Burial Place will be relocated to the Bethel AME Church cemetery in Peach County.  Bethel AME has an established church cemetery located approximately 10 miles from Avondale Burial Place (ABP).  Finding a cemetery with enough space to accommodate the burials was challenging, but we have succeeded in finding one that has sufficient space.  Additionally, negotiations with the Bethel AME Church took longer than expected because details such as access, maintenance, and location within the already established site had to be worked out and agreed upon.


Because the burials within the Avondale Burial Place cemetery were arranged in what appeared to be family clusters, one goal was to be able to reinter all remains together in one place with the cluster arrangement intact.  Now that the site has been purchased, New South Associates is developing the final plan, arranging for development and clearing of the new site, and selecting monuments for the new burial site.  Since the re-internment of 101 people will require more than one day to complete, a memorial service will be held after the burials have been completed.  We will be contacting you with proposed dates for this occasion soon.  It will be held soon after the first of the year.


We also wanted to give you an update on progress being made on the DNA testing.  As you may recall, DNA samples from individuals recovered at the burial site were sent to the University of Oklahoma (OU) some time ago.  In addition, New South identified 11 potential descendants who were sent DNA participation kits.  Five kits were returned to OU and some preliminary results have been shared with us.  Two of the five living potential descendants appear to have some common lineage with four of the deceased recovered from Avondale Burial Place.  Because this relationship looks promising, OU has asked if there are any others who might wish to participate.  Please contact Julie Coco at New South (770-498-4155 ext. 103; if you or someone you know within the family would like to participate in DNA testing.

This is a quick update on the progress being made on the DNA testing.  As stated in earlier posts, the extraction from those recovered at the burial site has been completed successfully.  The next step is extractions from potential descendants, and, with the direction given by the University of Oklahoma (OU), New South has identified 11 potential descendants, and these individuals have been sent DNA participation kits. Once these kits are returned to OU, it will take a short time to obtain results.  We’ll keep you informed.