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Archaeologists to Rebury Human Remains Found in Fort Christian

Jan. 13, 2005 — Archaeologists plan to rebury four sets of human remains unearthed from the floor of Fort Christian, an official said Friday.
Excavation crews found bone fragments and teeth of two people in Fort Christian in November and discovered two more burials recently, said David Brewer, an archaeologist with the Historic Preservation Office.
The crews found the bones of a large man and a toddler in a mortar crypt under the entrance to an area in the fort once used as a Lutheran Church, Brewer said.
The man was probably one of four church pastors to die in the first 10 years of Danish settlement on the island of St. Thomas, Brewer said. It was common practice for European settlers to bury clergy members and other important people beneath their churches.
Two adjacent crypts were empty, he said. Eighteenth century work crews reinforcing the fort's walls likely moved the bones to a nearby cemetery.
The bones of a woman and an adolescent – perhaps lesser church members – were found in the dirt walls between the crypts.
Brewer said the bones would be re-covered.
"We're going to cover them with filter fabric and then cover them with building sand, clean white building sand," he said. "You put in the white sand so anybody in the future knows exactly where to dig."
"We're making arrangements to ship (some remains) off to Copenhagen, but nothing is confirmed yet," Brewer said.
The rest of the remains will stay in the fort and be covered in a tarp and filled in with dirt and sand, he said.
Brewer said his crews will not search for more remains.
The fort – once used as a church, courthouse, prison, military base and seat of government — has been the dominant building in Charlotte Amalie since its construction in by Danish colonizers between 1672 and 1680.
The church in the fort was built in 1690 and used until 1793.
Archaeologists also found centuries old pipes, musket balls and coffin nails.
Graffiti drawn in the 18th or 19th century on the old prison cell walls depicts a ship and illegible handwriting.
"They also found a Danish coin dated 1717, Brewer said.
"We've been getting these questions everyday: 'Did you find any gold?'" he joked. "The answer is yes. About 10 cents worth" on a button probably worn by a military officer.

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