Of Skulls and Skeletons: Military Burial Practices

Date(s) - November 10, 2018
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

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Updike Farmstead

Check out the Public Archaeology Day at Princeton Battlefield from 9 am to 3 pm before this event!

OF SKULLS and SKELETONS: Military Burial Practices along the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail

In the late afternoon of January 3, 1777, New Jersey Militiaman William Churchill Houston reached the Princeton Battlefield where he “had a most dismal prospect of a number of pale mangled corpses, lying in the mud and blood”. They needed to be buried, but whose task was that? Can we tell who buried whom, not only at Princeton, but on other battlefields of the War of Independence along the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail as well? When? How many hours, days, months later? Where? Individually or in mass graves? In natural crevices? Lakes? Naked or dressed? Officers and other ranks together or separate? How long do they remain in the ground? Are they ever found? Who would dig them up and why? Can we identify them? What happens with the skeletons? Historian Dr. Robert Selig addresses these topics and more in a talk illustrating the close connection between history and archaeology.

Free; please register below, as space is limited. 

Robert A. Selig is a historical consultant who received his Ph.D. in history from the Universität Würzburg in Germany in 1988. He published a number of books on the American War of Independence such as HUSSARS IN LEBANON! A Connecticut Town and Lauzun’s Legion during the American Revolution, 1780-1781 and a translation of A TREATISE ON PARTISAN WARFARE by Johann von Ewald. He is a specialist on the role of French forces under the Comte de Rochambeau during the American Revolutionary War and serves as project historian to the National Park Service for the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail Project. He also serves as Project Historian for American Battlefield Protection Program projects such as the battles of Princeton, Green Spring, Spencer’s Ordinary, Paoli, Red Bank, Bennington, Hubbardton and Brandywine.


This event is fully booked.