Town Talk: Testing for possible grave sites at Ninth and New Hampshire likely in next few days

News and notes from around town:

• It now appears that archeologists soon will start exploring the site of Ninth and New Hampshire to determine if there are unmarked graves of victims of Quantrill’s Raid.

Lawrence Mayor Bob Schumm said he’s been told that the state archeologist will conduct test excavations on the site, which has been approved to house a multistory hotel building.

Schumm said he was not sure when the excavations would happen, but another source said the tests are scheduled for Monday. Attempts to confirm that with the state archeologist or the city manager’s office weren’t immediately successful.

If you remember, the issue of possible unmarked graves re-emerged last week when the Journal-World reported that state archeologist Robert Hoard had sent a letter to city officials in March expressing interest in testing the site.

Several opponents of the proposed hotel project had argued to city officials that the site may well be an unmarked burial ground for several black soldiers who were killed in Quantrill’s Raid. A 1903 master’s thesis by a Kansas University student contends the site was a burial ground for victims of the raid, but historians haven’t been able to find any other corroboration for the claim.

If remains are found on the site, there are state laws that dictate how the bodies must be treated or removed. The grave site issue, however, is not the type of issue that would stop the hotel project from moving forward. Even opponents of the project concede that point.

I’ll let you know when I hear more details.