Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery project: a retrospective

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, thousands of poor residents were buried in unmarked graves on the Milwaukee County Grounds, north of what is now the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center. For 25 years, UWM’s Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery project has systematically excavated burials on the County Grounds and curated collections of archaeological findings.

Patricia Richards, the project director and associate director of UWM’s Cultural Resource Management program, will present the project’s findings on Oct. 1. The public lecture will be in Sabin Hall Room G90 at 3 p.m.

Over the years, UWM researchers have found that several bodies were sometimes placed in a single grave or even a single coffin. Other burials contained seperate body parts, which helped researchers better understand historical autopsies and medical school practices.

The researchers have been able to personally identify more than 10% of bodies, restoring dignity to many individuals buried in unmarked graves.

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America-Milwaukee Society, the anthropology department, the art history department and the foreign langauge & literature department’s classics program.

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