The BIG move

coffin ready to be put into the moving van

Since March 2017, the human remains from the Arch St Project have languished in storage containers in Philadelphia.  Finding a facility in which to process and analyze the material with our limited budget has proved challenging.  As the months wore on, the team began to worry about the state of the remains.  Without a climate controlled environment, the remains were under threat of deterioration, mainly in the form of mold.  The College of New Jersey initially offered some promising space.  The team checked for regulations governing the movement of human remains, especially over state lines.  State offices were called, the medical examiner, and even funeral directors.  Due to the historic nature of the remains, no ordinances, regulations, or legislation seemed to exist that addressed this situation.  

Unfortunately the space at TCNJ fell through.  In April, Rutgers-Camden committed the funding necessary to rent an external warehouse to store and work on the remains.  This was a great relief but now began the process of locating a suitable space and jumping through the hoops of the leasing process.  Several sites were visited over the course of a month.  Finally, the perfect location was found.  It had plenty of open floor space, climate control, a bathroom, plenty of parking, a loading area, and was easy to get to by public transport and major highways.

On June 29th, with the help of Mambo Movers, the team loaded up 28 coffins and 35 boxes of bones and moved them to their new location.  Over the next few weeks, students involved in the project's summer field school will work to document and internally excavate the coffins and remove the remains inside.  Later this summer and into the fall, the bones will be cleaned and further analyzed.