Embrey Cemetery Reinterment

Stafford County, Virginia


Dovetail conducted investigations at the Embrey Family Cemetery in advancement of construction of a larger parcel slated for commercial development. The small family cemetery dates to the mid-nineteenth through early-twentieth century and is associated with a branch of the well-known Stafford County Embrey family. The project included:

  • Extensive archival research and oral histories with family members
  • Initial documentation of the cemetery
  • Mechanical removal of the topsoil to expose all grave shafts
  • Excavation of all identified graves
  • Identification and analysis of all human remains, associated grave goods, and coffin hardware
  • Reinterment of the remains at a perpetual care cemetery
  • Production of a report
  • Crafting blogs and other public media to disseminate the data

This project also required Dovetail to work closely with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) to obtain the required burial permit and an associated permit extension. This included extensive agency consultation on a variety of topics as well as a site visit.  

One of the more unique aspects of this project was the active construction zone surrounding the excavation area. Due to expedited temporal requirements, Dovetail worked with the construction team and the DHR to quickly delineate the cemetery, allowing the surrounding area to be graded and prepped for development. This process required diligence with communication and safety protocols. Because of the successful excavations and close working relationship with DHR, Dovetail was able to get a notice to proceed for the client shortly after the excavations were complete, allowing the project to stay on schedule.

The Embrey Family Cemetery project highlights Dovetail’s experience working with a sensitive archaeological resource within an active construction site. This project is also a great example of Dovetail’s long-standing and productive relationship with DHR and our ability to work with descendent communities to assure that care and compassion are part of such challenging projects.