THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (BEN FINLEY) July 18, 2022 at 7:22 PM EDT (AP) -- Archaeologists in Virginia began excavating three suspected graves at the original site of one of the nation's oldest Black churches on Monday, commencing a months long effort to learn who was buried there and how they lived.

by Ben Finley on July 19, 2022


A total of 41 apparent burial plots have been identified. Most are 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) long and up to 2 feet (0.61 meters) wide. The soil is discolored in places where holes were likely dug and filled back in. Only one grave appears to be marked, with an upside-down empty wine bottle.

Before excavations began Monday, a private blessing was held.