Great Valley to host archeological discussion on Jan. 24

MALVERN, Pa. — Penn State Great Valley will host “Stories Bones Tell: Philly’s First Baptist Church Burial Ground Project” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24, in the campus' Conference Center.

Archeologist Kimberlee Moran, director of forensic science and associate teaching professor at Rutgers University–Camden, and her colleagues with the Arch Street Project are using clues from the past to learn how some of the earliest Philadelphians lived — and died.

In 2016, while setting the foundation for a new condominium at 218 Arch Street in Philadelphia, construction workers unearthed something shocking: a box full of bones. They had unknowingly stumbled upon remnants of the First Baptist Church cemetery, which had occupied the site in the 18th century.

The findings sparked publicity and confusion over who the remains belonged to and what should happen to them, given that the site is private property. Moran and her team have since worked with the development company and the First Baptist Church to document the stories of the people who were buried there and to learn more about 18th century Philadelphia.

Moran has been a forensic consultant and educator since 2002. She holds an undergraduate degree in classical and near eastern archaeology from Bryn Mawr College and a master’s degree in forensic archaeological science from the Institute of Archaeology at University College London. Moran also helped to launch the JDI Centre for the Forensic Sciences, has run Forensic Outreach since 2004, and co-edited “Forensic Archaeology; Multidisciplinary Perspectives.” She has received Rutgers-Camden’s Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The event is free to attend, but advance registration is required.