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They found a cemetery and a hospital on a submerged island


They are under the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and are a quarantine hospital for yellow fever patients and a cemetery, both built in the 19th century.

The United States National Park Service (NPS) announced the discovery under the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, on the tourist islands of Dry Tortugas, in the extreme south of Florida, of a quarantine hospital


yellow fever patients, mainly military. , as well as

a submerged cemetery,

both built in the 19th century.

The archaeological remains, found from a survey conducted in August 2022 with the help of members of the NPS Submerged Resource Center, were located on a submerged island near Garden Key, the second largest islet in the Dry Tortugas.

Dry Tortugas National Park consists of 7 islets in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and is located 70 miles (112 km) west of Key West, Florida.

Among the findings,

a tombstone with an inscription from 1861

stands out, corresponding to the grave of John Greer, a civilian who worked as a laborer in the construction of the famous Fort Jefferson, one of the largest forts in the US, according to the NPS said in a statement.

"While only one grave has been identified, historical records indicate that dozens of people, mostly

US soldiers

stationed at Fort Jefferson, may have been buried there," the statement said.

John Greer's tombstone, with the inscription that reads "John Greer. November 5, 1861" (EFE).

The burial ground has been identified as the Fort Jefferson Post Cemetery.

Deadly epidemics in 1860 and 1870

According to NPS, major disease outbreaks on the now-submerged island took a heavy toll on those who stayed there, killing dozens during the 1860s and 1870s.

Although the details surrounding Greer's death are "unclear", her grave was "prominently" marked with

a large slab of greywacke

, a rock of mineral origin that was the same material used to build the first floor of Fort Jefferson. .

The slab was carved in the shape of a tombstone and inscribed with his name and date of death, specifically November 5, 1861.

The small quarantine hospital

, meanwhile, was used to treat yellow fever patients at the fort between 1890 and 1900.

The location of the submerged cemetery and hospital.

According to the release, in August 2022 Dry Tortugas cultural resource staff, with the help of members of the NPS Submerged Resource Center, the Southeast Archaeological Center, and a University of Miami (UM) graduate conducted a study and research leading to the findings.

Since then, they have been researching historical records "to learn more about the site."

Dozens of people buried

According to historical research, dozens of people were buried in the Fort Jefferson Post Cemetery, and while most were military men serving or incarcerated at the Fort, others were civilians.

"While much of the Fort Jefferson story centers on the fort itself and some of its prisoners, we are actively working to tell the stories of enslaved people, women, children and civilian workers," said Josh Marano, Marine archaeologist for the South Florida National Parks and study director.

Beyond its use as a military prison during the American Civil War, the islands and waters surrounding Fort Jefferson were also used as a

naval coal outpost

, lighthouse station, naval hospital, quarantine facility, and more generally as a safe harbor and military training.

"While the facilities identified in this study were originally built on land, dynamic conditions caused

many of the islands to move over time

. Climate change and major storms have even caused some islands to settle and erode under waves," the NPS noted.

The National Park was established to protect the islands and marine ecosystems of the Dry Tortugas, to preserve Fort Jefferson and submerged cultural resources, such as shipwrecks, and to allow public access in a regulated manner, the site's website indicates.

EFE Agency.

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Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-05-02

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