Friday, May 25, 2007

The Forgotten Dead
Beneath the neatly-shorn lawns of a quiet residential neighborhood lies a forgotten mystery. Children ride their bikes and homeowners dig in their gardens without a thought to the abandoned burial ground, neglected for over a century, that lies just below. Life goes on as normal – that is, until one of the burials is disturbed…

It’s a plot that’s been replayed hundreds of times in horror movies, comic books and trash archaeology novels. But in Deadwood, it’s not fiction. For the residents of the city’s Presidential District, the not-entirely-abandoned tombs under their homes are a fact of life. While there’s usually little reason to think about the old cemetery, its forgotten residents occasionally make an appearance.

That’s what happened on the morning of April 2. A construction crew, working at the behest of the city, was excavating with a backhoe on the corner of Jackson and Taylor Streets, where they were rebuilding an aging retaining wall. As the shovel dug through the earth, the crew noticed something unusual. Upon further examination, it became clear that they had discovered several bones – including parts of a human skull.