Friday, May 2, 2014

Cemetery Log Date: May 2, 2014

Not all cemeteries are visible on the surface, in fact most historic cemeteries in Florida are not.  The oldest extant (meaning evident still on the surface) is Tolomato Cemetery dating to 1777 in downtown St. Augustine.  But within that city are at least 6 cemeteries with nary a headstone; still historic, still significant, still there, just not visible on the surface.  Same is true of today's featured cemetery, the burial ground for some of those enslaved at Kingsley Plantation.

Day of Discovery at Kingsley Plantation announcing discovery of the cemetery (NPS).

The Kingsley era slave cemetery is located on the Kingsley Plantation site managed by NPS.  The cemetery was discovered by Dr. James Davidson and students from the University of Florida during their summer field school.  A total of 6 graves were discovered and left in place.  The exact number of internments and precise dates are unknown as more further work would be needed at the site and none is planned at this time.  The graves were left unmarked and are protected by the federal Archaeological Resource Preservation Act.

The announcement of the cemetery to the community was done through a series of planned phases by park staff at the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve (NPS) who own and manage the Kingsley Plantation site.  Knowing the discovery would be significant and sensitive to the community, perhaps most importantly the descendents, the Day of Discovery allowed the park to share what they knew from the archaeological work done and plan with the community the most appropriate way to interpret that part of the site's history going forward. 

Who: Federally owned and managed by the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve (NPS)

What: Early to mid 19th-century unmarked African graveyard.  

Where: 11676 Palmetto Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida 32226.  Directions

When: Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm

  • Intact African burial grounds are rare and sensitive sites in this country; this is an opportunity to show respect and visit such a site in northeast Florida.
  • View Kingsley era slave cabin ruins made of tabby (oyster shell, lime, sand, water).
  • Interpretive signage on life at Kingsley Plantation posted throughout the park.
  • Entry to the entire Timucuan Preserve is free, including Kingsley Plantation.
  • Remains from 6 individuals identified: a man, a woman, three children and the 6th unidentified.  The burials were left intact in their unmarked location.
  • Cut nails in coffins, 5 holed buttons and brass coat buttons helped archaeologists confirm mid 19th-century date for internments.  The sparse artifacts were also left in place.

Image from press release depicting Libation ceremony consecrating the graveyard

Interpretive panels located throughout the park provide visitors information on those who lived and worked at the plantation.

University of Florida 2011 field school students working in another area of the park.

Panoramic view of the tabby ruins one can visit at Kingsley.
For more information check out the NPS website dedicated to the graveyard and watch the 8 minute video by WJCT featuring park rangers, descendants, and archaeologists involved in the discovery.  The entire technical report by James Davidson is also posted on line by the park.

Text by Sarah Miller, FPAN staff
Images:  Day of Discovery image posted to NPS staff to their website.  Libation cemetery photo from press release posted to the NPS website. Last images by Sarah Miller, FPAN staff.

For previous posts search: Cemetery a Day in May or #CaDiM

2014 #CaDiM posts
Intro, May 1: Hilliard Community, May 2: Kingsley slave era cemetery

2013 #CaDiM posts
Intro, May 1: National, May 2: Oakdale, May 3: Murphy's Creek, May 4: Mt. Olive, May 5: Bosque Bello, May 6: Old City, May 7: Espanola, May 8: Tolomato, May 9: Pacetti, May 10: West View, May 11: Magnolia SpringsMay 12: St. Peter's, May 13: Gravely Hill, May 14: Pilgrim's Rest, May 15: God's Little Acre, May 16: Dummet's Grave, May 17: No Name, May 18: St. Monica, May 19: St. Joseph's, May 20:  Old St. Joseph's (Duval), May 21: Sampson, May 22: Fernandez Reserve, May 23: St. Ambrose, May 24: Sons of Israel, May 25: Sanksville, May 26: Huguenot, May 27: Nombre de Dios, May 28: Beresford, May 29: Jones, May 30: San Sebastian/Pinehurst, May 31: Oaklynn

- Copyright © Going Public - Skyblue - Powered by Blogger - Designed by Johanes Djogan -