On March 9th, archaeologists working at the John Dickinson Plantation in Delaware identified the site of a burial ground that likely holds enslaved people and African Americans who worked and lived on the plantation.
The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs had been investigating the burial ground for two years. Archeological work focused on finding the burial ground which had been referenced in primary source documents about the plantation. Now that the burial ground has been identified, the division plans to continue researching the site and the individuals buried there, as well as consulting with descendent communities. Director of the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Tim Slavin said, “This is sacred ground for Delaware, and we will continue to treat it with the honor and respect it deserves. Our path forward is to protect the site, engage with the community about how to proceed, and continue to learn more through research and dialogue.”
The John Dickinson Plantation is the home of John Dickinson, a signer of the US Constitution. Dickinson held people in bondage on the plantation while writing about freedom and liberty during the American Revolution. The plantation was recently named an International Site of Conscience in recognition of the site’s commitment to telling the difficult truths about the founding of the United States and slavery.
Currently, there is no public access to the burial site.