A recent investigation reveals that around 7,000 people may be buried under 20 acres on the campus of Mississippi University. Officials at the University will have an ugly task to pull out 100-year-old dead bodies out of the ground. Unearthing and reburying the body will cost up to $21 million. As the cost to too high, they will search for better and cheaper alternatives. We will handle the exhumations in-house that will cost $400,000 per year, says the officials.
Over the period from 1855 to 1935, around 35,000 people were admitted to the Insane Asylum, state’s first mental institution. After the US Civil War, the number increased drastically to about 6,000 patients. They are looking forward to create a memorial and laboratory so that students can study the patient’s remains along with leftover of clothes and wood exhumed in the process. Ralph Didlake, who oversees the campus Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities said, “We have inherited these patients.”
Using the method of genetic sequencing, the scientists have recreated oral bacteria from the remains. This could help in finding the overall health of a patient. The first coffin was discovered in 2013 while constructing the road on the university campus. Moreover, workers exposed 66 coffins from the campus in the same year. Later in 2014, when the construction of parking began they uncovered 1,000 coffins. Around 2,000 coffins in total were exposed. But today, approximately 7,000 coffins were found buried under the campus.
Molly Zuckerman, a professor of anthropology said, “It would be an exclusive resource for Mississippi.” He further added, “Mississippi would become a national center of historical records relating to health in the pre-modern period, particularly those being institutionalized.” The remains of the 66 patients uncovered in 2013 will be reburied following scientific analysis, but the university says it’ll leave the thousands of other bodies where they lie and find new locations for its development projects.