Email signup

Fairfax County will map hundreds of historic cemeteries and graves

A woman crouches near an old fence in a cemetery (via Fairfax County)

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.

Recent Stories

Good Thursday evening! Today we published 8 articles that were read a total of 9238 times on FFXnow alone, so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles…

This past week saw 145 homes sold in Fairfax County. The least expensive condo, single-family home or townhouse sale over the past seven days was $152,500 while the most expensive…

The Fairfax Board of Supervisors recently got a preview of what future transit connections between Tysons and Maryland could look like. At a transportation committee meeting on Tuesday (Jan. 31),…

Getting court time at Glyndon Park in Vienna may be tougher going forward for pickleball players. In the hopes of alleviating noise complaints from nearby residents, the Vienna Town Council…

Need help dealing with anxiety, depression or stress?

If you’re struggling to cope with anxiety, depression or stress, our virtual psychotherapy services can help. We offer a confidential and convenient service that’s tailored to your needs.

In our practice, cognitive behavioral therapy (or CBT) is an important tool we use to provide effective relief for those facing anxiety and depression. We believe that cognitive change can be used to improve behaviors and emotions, thus allowing you to achieve mental wellness. By understanding the cognitive distortions that lead to negative thought patterns, we are able to create interventions tailored to each of our clients. This empowering approach can help you gain control of how your own thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors impact your experience. With CBT, our service provides an effective treatment that can bring long-term change and mental stability.

Book a free consultation today and see how we can help you live a happier and healthier life.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list