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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended May 14, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Sent on Mormon-News: 10May00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

10 Mormon Pioneer Graves Moved In Tooele
Deseret News 9May00 D6
By Joe Bauman: Deseret News staff writer

TOOELE, UTAH -- The town of Tooele decided to move the unmarked graves of 10 Mormon pioneers because of cable and water lines and road construction, and now the remains are being studied by archaeologists. The remains, which come from an old Tooele cemetery, used until a permanent city cemetery was established in 1867. The remains include three teenagers or adults and seven younger children or infants.

The study is being done by a laboratory at the University of Utah, where forensic anthropologist Shannon Novak is examining them. The older cemetery, now known as the Tooele City Pioneer Cemetery and Memorial Garden, was first used in 1850, a year after the town was established, and was used sporadically until 1867. The archaeologists have a list of those buried in the cemetary, and may be able to identify the bodies using the list and information about the age of the remains at death.

The remains included a "young female who had an infant coffin placed on her abdomen," according to Novak, noting that childbirth in the middle of the 18th century was often dangerous. Anthropologists are also examining the remains of the coffins in which the bodies were buried, and Novak notes that the coffins identified so far were made of pine, evidence against the often-stated theory that the pioneers used the wood from the handcarts that brought them across the plains The handcarts were made of hardwoods like ash, hickory and oak.

Tooele used the environmental engineering consulting firm Dames & Moore/URS of Salt Lake City to excavate the graves. The city hopes to rebury the remains in the same cemetery by July 24th, the anniversary of the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in Utah.


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