TULSA, Okla. — Updates 10/22/2020:
Investigators announced today, Oct. 22, that an additional coffin been found in their search for victims from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. This brings the total minimum number of coffins to 12. They say the current area they are searching accounts for only 1/3 of the entire grave shaft. Investigators also announced today they will not continue work again until 2021.
Investigators announced Wednesday that a total of 11 skeletal remains had been found up to that point.
Crews started another search in Oaklawn Cemetery for 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre victims on Oct. 19. Right now the discoveries have not been confirmed as victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
The trenches have been filled to protect the coffins from the elements until the spring.
The city has spent $75,000 on this graves investigation so far. They have yet to be billed for this weeks work but have another $65,000 set aside for that. This was apart of the city’s budget for this year. No private donor contributions.
Investigators say additional grave shafts have been found in the search for human remains. Findings indicate that a mass grave with several human remains has been found. At least 10 human remains in coffins have been recovered in addition to the one discovered yesterday for a total of 11.
Investigators say they have evidence of one person, and possibly a second person in this area.
In a press conference, a spokesperson said they located remains but still have to do testing. It’s possible the remains belong to someone who died unrelated to the massacre.
Forensic scientists will determine whether the person could be a massacre victim, by looking for any signs of trauma, like bullet holes or broken bones.
Investigators say the remains were found buried in a wooden coffin three feet underground. An informal grave marker was also uncovered nearby.
The location of this dig and the coffin are both consistent with oral history from massacre survivors and witnesses.
Archeologists do not plan to exhume any remains, but will investigate what they can while keeping them underground.
Investigators say the discovery is encouraging. It helps guide them moving forward with how far down they should dig and what kind of conditions remains could be in. It’s also reassurance that their science and methods are yielding results.
The team will continue digging and searching in that part of the cemetery for the rest of the week.
Original story 10/19/2020:
Back in July, we followed along an excavation where crews did not find human remains. Historian Scott Ellsworth says they know around 18 victims are buried in Oaklawn, they just don’t know exactly where those bodies are.
Starting Monday, October 19, at 7:30 a.m., for about a week, they’re going to do test excavations and core samplings of two main areas.
The cemetery will be closed to the public during this time.
One area they’re searching is known as the Original 18 Site, where two 1921 Race Massacre headstones are.
The second is the Clyde Eddy Site.
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