Cemeteries are essential guides to the past, documenting ancestries and settlement patterns, but in Fairfax County, hundreds of sites risk being lost to time themselves, with some even unmarked or abandoned.
To prevent that, the county has undertaken a massive archaeological initiative to create a map of their locations to preserve history, provide information for development and more. The county will also create a manual for how to care for cemeteries, according to an announcement on April 14 launching the survey.
“People care about these places,” Aimee Wells, a senior archaeologist with the Fairfax County Archaeology and Collections Branch, wrote in an email. “They care whether they are descendants of the people who are buried or not. They care because the cemeteries are in their neighborhoods, because they’re curious about the past or because they simply have a respect for the resting places of the dead.”
Wells has been helping the public, where a lot of people care about cemeteries but aren’t sure what they can or should do. She said she’s been working with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to create the cemetery manual, and it’s slated to be available on the county’s website later this summer.
“Historic cemeteries are some of Fairfax County’s most important and unique cultural resources,” a webpage about the project says. “However, over time many cemeteries, especially small family burial plots and the burials of marginalized groups such as enslaved and free Blacks, Native Americans, the imprisoned and the poor are particularly difficult to research and locate.”
To that end, the project — which will rely on public input — will seek to find abandoned or lost cemeteries. It will also provide an estimate of unmarked burials.
Over a two-year period, county staff will work to locate some 350 cemeteries, collecting photos and other information, but that number is expected to increase.
“In my time as an archaeologist with the Park Authority, I’d estimate that we document at least 1-2 ‘new’ cemeteries per year either because of our work in the parks, because of the work of cultural resource management firms doing compliance work, and through citizen reporting,” Wells wrote.
Angela Woolsey contributed to this report.
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Camps are just the beginning of what’s in store at Art House 7 this summer. We’re thrilled to offer an array of exciting classes for both kids and adults!Rediscover your creativity with some of our AH7 favorites, such as drawing, hand-sewing, modern embroidery, and our popular 3-week Jump into Crochet classes. But that’s not all! We’ve added some fresh and exciting options to our summer class selection, guaranteed to spark your imagination.
To enhance your artistic journey, we have intensified some of our Ceramics: The Wheel classes to a full 3-hour duration. This extended time allows for more creativity and skill development in each class session. If you’re eager for a captivating twist, give Contemporary Still-Life Drawing & Painting a go. Or why not try an immersive outdoor painting adventure? We have a unique opportunity for you to bring your painting skills to life while learning and creating in the great outdoors with our Landscape Painting: Studio and Plein Air class!
We invite you to visit our website and explore our full Summer Session schedule, brimming with a diverse range of classes and camps. Classes and camps begin June 20th. Unleash your inner artist, broaden your horizons, and embark on a summer adventure like no other. Let’s make this a summer to remember at Art House 7!
Potomac Harmony Chorus has a new director! We’re ready
to kick off the season with new music, a new approach, and YOU!
Potomac Harmony is one of 500 choruses in Sweet
Adelines International. We’re a vibrant,
contemporary, inclusive, welcoming, and open community of women singers who
perform four-part harmony, barbershop style, committed to a high level of
achievement through teaching, mentoring, personal growth, and performance. Our vision is to entertain, educate, and
enrich lives through musical expression while promoting the barbershop art
Potomac Harmony recently had our first performance
with our new director, receiving rave reviews! We invite you to stop by any Wednesday
evening and be part of the fun and harmony!
Army Birthday Festival – Free and Fun
Make Saturday, June 10, 2023 a great day!
Come celebrate the Army Birthday Festival at the National Museum of the U.S. Army from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Rain or Shine!
• Experience outdoor and indoor fun activities, for all
Unveiling of West Ford historical highway marker
Gum Springs will be celebrating 190 years of its founding by freedman West Ford on Saturday, June 17, 2023. To kick-off the celebration, there will be an unveiling of a Virginia historical highway marker for West Ford on Fordson Road