GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD)- Archaeologists with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) are working to identify relatives of a young man whose remains were found on a cultural site in Georgetown County.
According to SCNDR, the remains were found near the Fishing Village — an archaeological research site on the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center Heritage Preserve — and may date as far back as the 1890s.
In 2019, the agency received an emergency grant from the National Park Service and the S.C. Department of Archives and History to conduct research and identify the remains in order to give them a proper reburial.
Historical archaeologist Dr. Jodi Barnes has led the effort to extra DNA and conduct genealogy research in partnership with Richland County deputy coroner and forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Stevens, Kalina Kassadjikova, a Ph.D. student in forensic anthropology and paleogenetics at the University of California Santa Cruz, and FHD Forensics.
“Our team is grateful for the opportunity to help return this young man to his relatives,” Allison Peacock, president of FHD Forensics said.
The South Island skeletal remains were documented and recovered by a lieutenant with the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office and a team worked to create a facial reconstruction of the individual.
Representatives from the African American and Gullah-Geechee communities have been invited to tour the site and take part in the project, including the archaeological lab and fieldwork, oral history, archival research, and educational outreach programs.
“This collaborative archaeological research involves oral history, archival research, and DNA analysis to identify descendants,” Dr. Jodi Barnes said. “Telling his story and saying his name for the first time in decades are the next step to provide a proper burial for him.”
Anyone interested in DNA testing to determine whether they are related to the young man can visit the FHD Forensics website here.