Crews digging on Huntsville property in search of unmarked graves

Archaeologists have uncovered the grave of an 8-year-old girl from the 1800s.

Posted: Sep 4, 2019 7:09 PM
Updated: Sep 5, 2019 7:17 AM

WAAY 31 learned that archaeologists have uncovered the grave of an 8-year-old girl in South Huntsville from the 1800s.

It's on a property behind a laundromat on South Parkway and Hobbs Road. Crews are digging in search of unmarked graves.

Property records show the Richards Cemetery was once located there and that's why crews are now out there digging, before any more development takes place.

Jeremy Bishop, a neighbor, fears a large dig off South Parkway and Hobbs Road is disrupting an ancient burial ground.

"They are making such a big deal and they're courting it off and you got police on this, and why go through all this when you just leave the grave and respect it?" said Bishop.

WAAY 31 reached out to the owner of the property who said the commotion began when a potential tenant wanted to move into one of his vacant store fronts and build within the store.

That's when neighbors told police a cemetery from the 1800s is actually located there.

"I think it's sacred and should be left there. I think they should build around it even, if they have to," said Bishop.

The property owner said he never knew about the cemetery when he purchased the land 40 years ago. Police say he's done nothing wrong and that he had the right to build on his land.

Now, the Alabama Historical Society and the Tennessee Archaeological Research team are on the scene looking for more unmarked graves.

Neighbors are waiting to see what happens next.

"I hope they let everyone know what they found and the reason they dug it up," said Bishop.

The crews started digging Tuesday and say they could be out there another day or two. They don't know how long the process will take.

The property owner can either leave the graves where they are or pay to have them moved. 

We'll follow this story throughout the week and bring you any updates as we learn more.

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