Book Review: Forgotten Bones; Uncovering a Slave Cemetery by Lois Miner Huey
Forgotten Bones; Uncovering a Slave Cemetery by Lois Miner Huey is the nonfiction book that details the accidental discovery of a cemetery at a construction site, and the archaeological work that resulted.
This particular story begins in Albany, New York, in 2005. Workers were putting in new sewer line when a backhoe driver dug up a skull. After police declared the skull wasn't connected to any recent crimes, a team of archaeologists took a closer look. They determined the skull was from an African American who had died more than one hundred years earlier. Suddenly the construction site turned into an archaeological dig. Scientists excavated more bones and realized that they had located a long-lost slave cemetery. Slavery had been legal in the northern United States, including in New York State, in colonial times, but the stories of these slaves are largely unknown. This site became just the third slave cemetery ever to be excavated in the North. The book explains how archaeologists pieced together the truth about these once forgotten bones, and what they learned.
I found Forgotten Bones; Uncovering a Slave Cemetery to be engaging and interesting. I found the details of the discovery, recovery, and museum work involved to be engrossing and important. I like that the author included the history of slavery and the details of the two previous excavations in the North. the timeline of the discovery and everything hat we have learned because of it was laid out in a way that was both understandable for middle grade readers and adults, while also being interesting and inspiring further research (at least on my part). I think the combination of scientific knowledge, respect for the remains worked with, and the history revealed are combined in this book in a impressive balance.
I think Forgotten Bones; Uncovering a Slave Cemetery is a wonderful, informational text that middle grade and older readers will get a lot out of. The book is engaging and offers important insights. readers that are interested in history and/or archaeology will find the read particularly engrossing.