NONFICTION

Forgotten Bones: Uncovering a Slave Cemetery

56p. bibliog. ebook available. further reading. glossary. maps. notes. photos. websites. Millbrook. Oct. 2015. Tr $30.65. ISBN 9781467733939.
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Gr 5–7—Readers' interest in this volume will be piqued from the stunning cover image of a 200-year-old skull. The book explains how archaeologists in Albany, NY, excavated a slave cemetery and analyzed artifacts using DNA evidence, soil testing, and historical puzzle-solving. Though the science and technology are sophisticated, the descriptions are written in plain, accessible language. The organization is easy to follow. Photographs, illustrations, and diagrams on every page bring the subject to life by clarifying visually how artifacts are examined. The author adopts an objective tone, though she doesn't avoid discussing the realities of slavery, emphasizing in the last two chapters evidence of the physical abuse, malnutrition, and disease that resulted from the brutal conditions. Readers may be surprised to discover that there was slavery in the North in the 18th century, and they will appreciate seeing how much archaeologists can learn from seemingly small details.
VERDICT A solid choice for libraries that serve middle school students, this title will appeal to some would-be archaeologists and is a great addition to classrooms as well.

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