Beginning in 2021, Sylvester Manor began a three-year partnership project at the Burial Ground with members of the Shinnecock Tribal Nation Graves Protection Warrior Society, Honor Our Indigenous Ancestors, Inc., Unkechaug Nation and representative descendents of tribal people of Long Island. Together with a team from the University of Massachusetts Fiske Center for Archaeological Research, the project focuses on the archaeological study of this Burial Ground under the direction of Dr. Stephen Mrozowski of the University of Massachusetts Boston. Dr. Mrozowski has led archaeological studies at Sylvester Manor for over 20 years and observes,
“This project will usher in a new era of collaboration that seeks to right the wrongs of the past while charting a future shaped by indigenous voices. Archaeology owes nothing less to the indigenous peoples of Long Island – this is, after all, their land and their history.”
The study has been supported by grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Hart Family Fund for Small Towns and the 400 Years of African American History Commission.
As stated by Stephen Searl, Executive Director for Sylvester Manor, “This partnership will have a transformative impact not only on our ongoing archaeology work at Sylvester Manor but how we tell the history of this place, whose stories we tell, and how we use this 236-acre property in the future. This project has the potential to be a model for other archaeologists, historians and culturally significant sites around the nation. We are honored to be working with Native partners on such an innovative and groundbreaking project.”
Additional study of the area will resume in the Fall of 2023 as we continue our research into the identities and lives of those who are buried there.