Update to Fort Bend ISD’s historic find on construction site (4/18/2018)
FORT BEND ISD (April 18, 2018) – Two weeks ago Fort Bend ISD announced the discovery of a historic cemetery on the current construction site of the James Reese Career and Technical Center, located at University Boulevard and Chatham Avenues in Sugar Land. Initial reports indicated the discovery of several unmarked graves and early last week the number had risen to about 30. Archaeologists on site, in partnership with the Texas Historical Commission, have now reported the discovery of about 79 graves, and exploration continues.
As the initial exploratory process continues, there is still not enough evidence to identify the cemetery’s time frame or any indication of who is buried at the site. Additional testing will have to be done during the excavation process before experts can determine the history of the remains.
“We are honored to be a part of this discovery, as it will inform our rich history of Sugar Land and Fort Bend County. We hope that testing will give us the information we need to determine who is buried on this land and when they lived. This is a remarkable learning opportunity, not only for our students, but for our entire community,” said Dr. Charles Dupre, Fort Bend ISD Superintendent of Schools. “We appreciate the Texas Historical Commission for their expertise and guidance through the process, as well as Mr. Reginald Moore, whose passion for honoring our history brought to our attention the possibility of archaeological artifacts in the general area. We recently invited Mr. Moore to tour the site, and we are all anxiously awaiting more information once exploration is complete.”
The District exhausted due diligence during the excavation phase of the project, and contracted a full-time archaeologist on site to supervise the project. During the observations, which included land clearing, trenching and excavations, there was no evidence of archaeological artifacts or remains found. During the next phase of the project, bones were discovered and the archaeologist was once again called out to review the findings. While an initial review of the bones did not indicate they were human, a subsequent review and analysis confirmed the remains were indeed human. This led to a perimeter search to determine if there were additional remains at the site, and several other interments were discovered. This exploratory work will continue until a perimeter of the cemetery is determined.
Fort Bend ISD is in full compliance with construction permits and plans to continue to comply with any other permits required by the State. Burial sites are regulated by the Texas Health Code. Construction work continues on the James Reese Career and Technical Center in the areas not impacted by the archaeological work.