What to Know
- Archaeologists discovered a burial ground at the John Dickinson Plantation in Dover, Delaware, where slaves were likely held.
- The discovery was part of a two-year investigation from Delaware’s Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs on 450 acres of state property.
- The work focused on identifying the burial ground for enslaved people who were referenced in primary source documents.
Archaeologists have identified a burial ground at a plantation in Delaware where slaves were likely buried.
The burial ground was discovered on March 9 during archaeological fieldwork at the John Dickinson Plantation in Dover. Officials said the area likely holds the enslaved individuals and other African Americans who lived, worked and died on land owned by the Dickinson family.
“We remain committed to telling inclusive history,” Delaware Secretary of State Jeff Bullock said. “This includes restoring dignity to those who have been forgotten. This important discovery presents a powerful moment for every Delawarean.”
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The discovery was part of a two-year investigation from Delaware’s Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs on 450 acres of state property. The work focused on identifying the burial ground for enslaved people who were referenced in primary source documents.
“This is sacred ground for Delaware, and we will continue to treat it with the honor and respect it deserves,” the division’s director Tim Slavin said. “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 a state museum and the boyhood home of John Dickinson, a Founding Father of the United States as well as a framer and signer of the U.S. Constitution.
“Dickinson wrote eloquently about freedom and liberty while at the same time holding other human beings in bondage,” a division spokesperson wrote.
The division said they will continue to research and learn more about the burial ground.