DNA testing underway on African burial remains

February 11, 2020 GMT

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire city approved spending for a DNA analysis of African burial ground remains.

Portsmouth City Council authorized the expenditure of more than $10,000 from the African Burying Ground Trust to conduct the DNA sequencing project, The Portsmouth Herald reported Saturday.

The decision to move forward with testing of the two sets of remains from the historic 1700s site is an effort to learn more about the lives led by these individuals, with a remote possibility of finding living descendants today.

The African Burying Ground Stewardship Committee authorized sending the pulverized bone and teeth fragments from the two separate burials for analysis at a meeting in November.

The committee was established last year and appointed to honor and upkeep the historic grounds where the buried remains of 13 people were uncovered during a city infrastructure project in October 2003.

Eight burials were exhumed and all were determined to be of African ancestry. The city debuted a memorial at the site in 2015.