School Board to Discuss Human Bones, Graves Found Under New Football Field

The public meeting of the Prince William County School Board is tonight, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.

Screen shot of how the grave site appeared when the area was first cleared of shrubbery and trees. (Prince William County Public Schools.)
Screen shot of how the grave site appeared when the area was first cleared of shrubbery and trees. (Prince William County Public Schools.)
The Prince William County School Board is meeting at 7 p.m. today, Dec. 16 to get some public feedback on what should be done with human bone fragments found in graves discovered at the construction site of a new high school. 

The school division learned this summer that human graves were found at the construction site of the currently-unnamed 12th high school in the Prince William County School division.  The remains are thought to date back to pre-Civil War times, school officials said in earlier reports. 

Evidence of the graves were found as early as 2008 by contractors working at the site, but that information wasn't shared with school division officials until five years later, according to the PWCS website. 

  • See video of what grave information was shared with the school board on Nov. 19, here
The site is located on the grounds of the school's athletic complex, less than 2,000 feet from the intersection of Hoadly Road and Independence Drive in the Manassas area of the county, not far from Dale City. 

In November, the Lynn Family of Prince William County told local television media that the graves are that of their ancestors, who lived in the area in the early 1800s. 

School officials said DNA tests will be done on the bones, if possible, but so far what has been discovered is too deteriorated for such tests. 

The bones will be removed and reinterred at Stonewall Memorial Gardens at the school division's expense.  The exact cost isn't yet known, a spokesman for the school division said in November. 

The meeting is at the Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center, 14715 Bristow Rd. in Manassas. Meetings are also broadcast live on the web at www.pwcstv.com/. They can also be viewed live on TV on Comcast Channel 18 and Verizon FiOs Channel 36. 

What do you think should be done with the graves? Should the school division really have to pay? Tell us in the commenting section of this story.  

Fred Rash December 16, 2013 at 08:56 PM
The school division has rushed development of properties in the past, citing cost and schedule concerns. This time the public is aware of the situation, and respect for links to the families who built the county trumps concerns with the bottom line. The school division will pay no matter what they decide.
John Strother December 17, 2013 at 10:22 AM
Why didn't the Lynn family inform the county that the graves were there? Had they forgotten the graves? My family has many grave sites through out Virginia. We Don't know where all of them are located. Tombstones from my family has been used as patio pavers, some been moved to make way for interstate hi ways, some were paved over at churches for parking. Some even have had houses built above them. One grave site, the builder put an apartment building next to it and then called the grave yard a child's playground. Even at Lorton, the prison had inmates wash the head stones until all the names, dates and whatever else that was carved into them vanished. What surprises me about this incident is that they have taken the high road to re intern the remains at a proper cemetery.
Jay H December 17, 2013 at 10:53 AM
Little if any regard is given to old private cemeteries unless the public becomes aware of them and there is no choice. There were a lot of graves dug into and remains scattered in the Hayfield area of Fairfax County. Hayfield High School was built over the remains from many graves. And just up the hill on Hayfield Road, the parking lot at the IHOP restaurant covers many graves and remains, most of which are said to be from the Rogers family. The old "don't ask and don't tell" rule of thumb has been around a lot longer than most people know!
Fred Rash December 17, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Regardless of how unfettered development has been in the past, we have an obligation to preserve the memories of what came before us, as much as possible. The school board's citing of the costs associated with each option is a consideration, but does not relieve them of the obligation to do the right thing. Our county already looks bad on this issue.


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