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Archaeologists studying slave graves

Associated Press

COOPERTOWN, Tenn. - Two University of Tennessee archaeologists are trying to determine the number of graves in a cemetery for slaves at a former plantation in Robertson County.

The Tennessean reported archaeologists Stephen Yerka and Daniel Brock visited the site recently with radar that can penetrate the ground to gather information.

Preliminary information from their findings will be used in an exhibit about the Wessyngton property that is set to open in February at the Tennessee State Museum in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Tennessee State Museum curator Rob DeHart says it could take a year to get a full report on the archaeologists' findings.

A marker placed at the site in 1994 has 39 names inscribed on it.

John Baker Jr., a Springfield resident who will serve as a guest curator of the Wessyngton exhibit, said burials began in the slave cemetery in the 1700s and the last one was in 1928.

The exhibit at the Tennessee State Museum will include the survey of the cemetery as well as photographs, paintings, portraits, period furniture and fabricated elements.

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