New South Associates takes a phased approach to cemetery relocation that typically involves conducting the necessary investigations (surveying, mapping, and recording) to identify the extent of a cemetery while creating little or no impact on the burials. However, many clients find that impacts to a cemetery are unavoidable, and cemetery relocation may be required. Cemetery relocation is typically the last resort when all other options have been eliminated and involves the physical removal of human remains from each grave to be re-interred within another cemetery.
Cemetery relocation involves the identification of each grave and the manual excavation of the interred remains. Human remains, coffin features, and grave goods are exposed, their positions in the grave are carefully recorded, and maps and photographs of each grave are made following standard archaeological recovery techniques. Once excavation and examination are completed, the interred along with their grave goods are inventoried and carefully wrapped in acid-free tissue. Human remains are arranged anatomically and all materials are placed in specially designed containers, specified by each state and the re-interment facility. The goal of re-interment is to restore as much of the original mortuary meaning as possible.
Cemetery relocation is extremely culturally sensitive, and New South Associates’ staff understands that the utmost respect must be shown to the interred, as well as the descendant communities. We advocate respectful involvement of descendent communities in the relocation process whenever possible and have an excellent reputation for communicating with descendant groups. New South Associates has extensive experience conducting cemetery relocations for government agencies, other cultural resource firms, developers, and private citizens in the eastern United States and the Caribbean. We assure our clients as well as the descendent communities that the greatest amount of respect and care is taken when excavating and relocating these cemeteries.