44 African American graves found under Florida parking lot
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — A private archaeology firm says it has discovered what appear to be about 44 graves from a long-forgotten African American cemetery under a Florida parking lot.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that the firm, Cardno, used ground-penetrating radar to find the suspected graves. The firm was hired by the city of Clearwater and the Pinellas County School Board to conduct the search.
The school district owns the parking lot. Cardno also reported additional graves may exist under a nearby school district building.
The discovery is the third since August in which archaeologists have discovered lost African American graves in the Tampa Bay region. In the latest find, officials say the original cemetery was moved in 1954 but that some graves were left behind.
Officials say Cardno will get permission to validate the radar’s findings by digging just close enough to the graves to confirm their existence without touching them.
Additional findings are expected by the end of March. After that, community meetings will be held to discuss what to do.