City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) presents “All Together Here: A Community Symposium for Discovery and Remembrance,” an online public symposium October 9-10, 2020.
In 2016, during the rehabilitation of the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel, archeologists monitoring construction discovered human remains beneath the chapel footprint. Following careful exhumation and analysis of the artifacts and burials that date from the nineteenth century, a detailed report with findings was released in May 2020.
The online symposium will provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about the project and what the field of archeology can reveal about people who lived more than a century before. The event will also provide an opportunity for the community to provide ideas about how these individuals are honored and memorialized. They symposium will be divided into two key themes:
Day 1: Discovery
Friday, October 9, 2020, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Day 1 sessions will address the archaeologist’s report and what it means. Participants will hear from the project team members involved in the exhumation, professional analysis as well as the impending reinterment. Additionally, researchers from the University of Connecticut who are partnering with the City of Austin will discuss what DNA analysis can reveal about the individuals from the past and the opportunities for locating descendants.
Day 2: Remembrance
Saturday, October 10, 2020, noon to 5 p.m.
Day 2 sessions will cover the historical context of the people who were found and how the context expands our understanding of 19th century Austin, cemetery history, and cultural expressions of grief and reverence of ancestors. In addition, we will explore how the City of Austin’s process can be improved in the future and what the community would like to see at the site as a permanent memorial.
Speakers and panelists include local community advocates, cemetery stakeholders, local and national archaeologists, and renowned historians. The two-day symposium will be broadcast online and through live social media channels.
For more information on the symposium, visit the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel Rehabilitation project webpage.