Major archaeological discovery could rewrite Delaware’s history

Bones, human remains, and artifacts, a new discovery out of Rehoboth Beach is shedding light on what life used to be like in Delaware.

"These are the best preserved burials that I have seen in the entire Chesapeake area," says Dr. Douglas Owsley, from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Back in 2012, archeologists were working on a historical site known as Avery's Rest, which is a former plantation in Rehoboth. Scientists were looking for remnants of a 17th century home, little did they know they were going to uncover 11 unmarked burials.

"The actual find of the burials was quite an accident we were not looking for burials,"says Daniel Griffith from the Archeological Society of Delaware.

Scientists tell us their is no archival record of these burials, which is why they've spent the past few years digging for information.

"That took a lot of labor because we were sifting soil, recovering artifacts and running across burials as we continue that process," says Griffith.

With the help of the Smithsonian, scientist discovered that the remains could date back to the late 1600's and have been able figure out their age, sex, and race.  Bone DNA analysis confirmed that three of the burials were people of African American descent, and 8 were of European descent. 

Scientists say they still have work to do before they fully identify the remains, but are optimistic that they will find names and learn more about their stories.

The remains are currently with Smithsonian scientists, but they haven't found their final resting place just yet. 

The remains still have to go through a series of tests and analysis for identification. Once they have that information, archeologists hope to learn about their lifestyle such as  their health, family life, and how they made their living.

Scientists say there are plans to eventually exhibit the findings and possibly include facial recognition based on their skeletal remains.

Categories: Delaware, Local News