MANASSAS, Va. (CBS DC) – When a Prince William County high school district announced plans to build a sports complex for students, no one complained.
But when it was announced they would be displacing a century old cemetery to do so, more than a few heads turned.
Then the district said the construction firm knew about the graveyard since 2008, but hadn’t told school officials until this past summer.
Now there is outrage and a flurry of activity as archaeologists hurry to excavate the grave site before it is demolished, reports the Washington Post.
The site is in a remote area south of Manassas. It was overgrown with trees and other plants. The rough fieldstones are dated from 1860 through 1890.
Researchers think the grave belonged to a single family, headed by William Lynn, who owned a 100-acre farmstead on the site.
They estimated there are about a dozen graves.
“The football field!” said Carolyn Lynn, a Manassas genealogist who believes she is related to the cemetery’s occupants.
“It’s not even the high school. And that kind of adds insult to injury.”
But by the time the family connection was made on Novenber 16th, the digging had been underway for 5 days.
School officials said the work could not be stopped. It was finished on November 21st.
And now there’s a dispute over where the unearthed remains will be reburied.
“It’s very upsetting,” Carolyn Lynn tells the Washington Post. “These were people who lived there, farmed there, had children . . . that expected to be there forever.”