WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — The excavation into the origins of the First Baptist Church is happening right now in Colonial Williamsburg. The site, located off of what is now Nassau Street, is believed to hold the story of the first all-Black congregation in American History.
After beginning Phase 2 of the project in January, Archaeologists have made a major discovery.
“We do have evidence of human remains in these trenches,” said lead Archaeologist Jack Gary.
The discovery includes fragments of human bones that may belong to congregates of the church (a probable finger bone and a tooth).
But even with advancements in DNA technology, archaeologists have a difficult task ahead identifying who these people are.
“Individuals, named individual is very difficult, if not impossible,” said Gary. “But there may be a way to connect families.”
To do that, they’ll have to rely on the oral history of the congregation.
“The members who are still here in their 80s have records in their bibles,” said Connie Harshaw, president of the Let Freedom Ring Foundation. “They have records in their bibles of people who may have been buried there…grandparents, great-grandparents.”
Making those connections in the coming months will help tell this critical story in Black history, a story that’s been buried for far too long.