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Then they will send the samples to a lab, which will excise tissue samples for DNA testing.

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What they do understand now is that the unmarked graves contained intriguing clues to long lost mysteries. Three out of four had remains in them, more than anyone expected based on previous experience, and details emerged about lives lived long before nearby Nolensville Pike exploded with 20th century bustle.

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"We've been very interested in trying to find out who these folks might have been," she said. "It's going to be very meaningful for understanding the Grassmere property, and I think zoo visitors will be interested to know more about it."

Were they black slaves at Grassmere, a farm that sat on the land the zoo's animals now inhabit? Were they white tenant farmers?

/ Submitted1812"It was surprising in comparison to what we had seen in the other cemeteries in Middle Tennessee we've worked on," said archaeologist Larry McKee with TRC Companies Inc. "I think it has a lot to do with soil chemistry and things we don't really understand."

samples from the bones so they can learn more about the people who were buried in a bamboo covered area near the zoo's ticket booths.

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The findings inspired zoo officials who dug up the graves between Feb. 27 and March 25 to make way for a new "entry village" they plan to open next year to keep digging in a less literal way. They've engaged archaeologists at Middle Tennessee State and Vanderbilt universities to take DNA Purple Ghd Straighteners

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Shannon Beats By Dre Dj Hodge, associate professor of anthropology at MTSU in Murfreesboro, said she and her team will start studying the bones today after receiving them Friday. She said they'll be "properly suited up" in scrub like coverings, gloves and masks so their own DNA won't have a chance to contaminate the teeth and small, dense pieces of bone slightly larger than a pencil eraser they will extract.

McKee said the people in the graves were buried between the 1820s and 1850. About half of them were infants and young children. Some wore garments with beads in the neck area. The adults tended to be tall for Chi Flat Iron Official Website

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Nashville Zoo graves turn up more than expected

idea of who these individuals were," said Tori Mason, the zoo's historic site manager.

But that's just speculation at this point, he said. He hopes the academic archaeologists can color in more of the picture.

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Extracting DNA to tell a story

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"All of this information together is going to give us a better Ghd Limited Edition Purple

Tim Walker, executive director of the historical commission, said knowing more about the people in the graves will help historians piece together Grassmere's history.

"It points not just to ancestry but also economic standing," he said. "These people had enough means to keep themselves pretty well fed."

Hodge said she hopes to be able to establish whether the people in the graves were of African or European descent, their age at death, gender, health and any diseases or trauma they suffered.

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Hodge and Tung are working pro bono. The Metro Historical Commission's foundation and Historic Nashville Inc. are giving the zoo $500 each to help pay for the DNA lab analysis, while the zoo will spend $2,400, spokesman Jim Bartoo said.

Story: Old graves at Nashville Zoo may present dilemma

the time 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet 1 inch and had very good teeth. That could be evidence that they weren't slaves, McKee said.

Tiffiny Tung, an anthropological bioarchaeologist at Vanderbilt, will take dietary isotope samples from the bones and study them to try to learn what the people in the graves ate and drank. Understanding their water sources will show whether they lived in Nashville throughout their lives or moved here, Hodge said.

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