A long-forgotten cemetery that has revealed 101 unmarked graves likely belonging to descendants of slaves will be discussed in a meeting Tuesday.
The cemetery is located along a planned extension of Sardis Church Road near the Middle Georgia Regional Airport. Results from a 2009 and 2010 archaeology exploration of the cemetery will be presented between 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Georgia Department of Transportation building at 4499 Riverside Drive, Macon.
Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kimberly Larson said she thinks all the remains have been transferred to the Bethel AME Church cemetery in Peach County.
The search for graves involved ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs, as well as archaeologists. Among the artifacts found was a porcelain doll held in the arm of a child, according to an account by archaeologists with New South Associates.
Larson wrote in a news release that based on the historical and archaeological information uncovered, this cemetery appears to be related to the late nineteenth-century, post-emancipation African-American tenant farmer community near Walden and Avondale, in southern Bibb County.
Possible descendents may have come from the family of slaves from the historic McArthur Plantation or other nearby plantations.
Family names associated with the area include Barton, Thomas, Moore, McClendon, McClennan, Walker, Rider, Ryder, McArthur, Allen, Johnson, Castillo, Casterlow and Wilder.
More information, including other potential surnames, is available online at www.avondaleburialplace.org.
Because of the road project, the state hired mortuary archaeologists from New South Associates to recover and relocate the burials.
Descendants have been involved in the archaeological exploration since 2009.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.