Bioarchaeological Investigations of the Evans Cemetery
CRA completed the archaeological excavation of 15 historic graves and monitored the relocation of additional historic graves at the Evans Cemetery (46Md62) near the community of Bradshaw, McDowell County, West Virginia. The data recovery project was conducted at the request of Potesta & Associates, Inc. Potesta & Associates, Inc., was under contract with ZMM, Inc., who in turn was under contract with McDowell County Schools, West Virginia Department of Education, and the West Virginia School Building Authority. Partial funding for the project was provided to McDowell County Schools by the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who served as lead agency for the project. The project was conducted because of the proposed development of a new educational complex at the former location of the Bradshaw Elementary School. This required the relocation of a short segment of WV 80, and the area selected for the relocation contained the Evans Cemetery. The cemetery was located along the east-facing, steeply sloped side of a ridge overlooking the floodplain of Dry Fork and was immediately uphill from the current alignment of WV 80.
In all, 106 graves interred between at least 1875 and 1988 were identified and excavated. With the exception of the 15 graves selected for archaeological excavation, the remaining graves were relocated by Chafin Funeral Home, Inc. Only two of the graves subjected to archaeological excavation had known dates of interment (1875 and 1921). Based on mortuary and personal artifacts, the remaining graves subjected to archaeological excavation dated from the latter half of the nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century. Represented in this sample were five adults and 10 subadults (infants and children). All of these remains will be reinterred at the Relocation Evans Cemetery in Bradshaw, West Virginia.
Overall, historic graves at the cemetery produced a variety of mortuary and cultural materials consisting of vaults, caskets and casket hardware, textiles associated with caskets and clothing, other clothing items, and personal materials. Preservation at the cemetery was generally poor, and human remains were identified in only a few of the graves. Three instances of embalming were also noted. Information derived from the data recovery project provided information about Appalachian mortuary practices from at least the late nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries.