Remains unearthed at Gaillard Center returned to final resting place

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Hundreds came to witness history as human remains unearthed at the Gaillard Center in 2013 were finally laid to rest.

Six years ago, the construction site revealed the bones of 36 people. Since then, the remains have been studied as historians debated what should be done with the bones.

A traditional African ceremony was performed with a parade, time of blessing, and speakers. Some who participated in the parade are from North America’s only authentic African Village, about an hour away from Charleston in Sheldon. The Oyutunji King and several other traditional roles took part in the blessing of the bones.

One of the project leaders from the University of Pennsylvania says it’s important that remains be returned back to where they were found since that is the respectful thing to do.

“They were here they lived here they died here they were buried here they need to be brought back to a place for peace,” Theadore Schurr says.

Schurr says he believes these remains were found for a purpose.

“I’ve been arguing that these bones have come out of the ground to deepen our understanding of who we are and our responsibilities,” Schurr says.

Mary Noisette even came all the way from Seattle, Washington, to participate in the ceremony. She says she lived in Charleston 60 years ago, so these remains and their past lives are close to her heart.

“I just feel for them my heart opens I feel like I’m mourning I’m not far from tears,” Noisette says.

Project leaders say they are working on getting a memorial headstone placed at the site so that generations of people can come visit.

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