Unearthing History: New Jersey’s Intriguing Parking Lot Grave

In 2019, a surprising discovery was made in a parking lot in New Brunswick, New Jersey. A team of archaeologists, working on a project to expand the Rutgers University campus, unearthed a grave containing the remains of four individuals, dating back to the 18th or 19th century. The grave was located under a paved surface, near a historic building that once served as a hospital during the American Revolution. Who were these people, and how did they end up buried in such an unlikely place?

The Mystery of the Parking Lot Grave

The parking lot grave was not the first archaeological find in the area. In fact, the site had been known to contain traces of colonial-era history since the 1950s, when a mass grave of Revolutionary War soldiers was discovered nearby. However, the four individuals in the parking lot grave were different from the soldiers in several ways. They were buried in a single, rectangular pit, with their heads facing west and their feet east, following a Christian tradition. They were also buried with personal items, such as buttons, coins, and a pipe, indicating that they were not anonymous casualties of war, but rather people with identities and histories.

The archaeologists who excavated the parking lot grave were puzzled by the identities and origins of the four individuals. They could not find any records or documents that mentioned them or explained why they were buried there. They also could not determine their exact ages, genders, or causes of death, due to the poor preservation of the bones. They did, however, manage to extract some DNA samples from the teeth, and sent them to a laboratory for analysis.

The DNA Analysis and Its Implications

The DNA analysis revealed some surprising and intriguing information about the four individuals in the parking lot grave. The results showed that they were not related to each other, and that they had diverse genetic backgrounds. One of them was of European descent, another was of African descent, and the other two were of mixed ancestry, with traces of Native American, European, and African genes. The analysis also suggested that they lived between the late 1700s and the early 1800s, a period marked by social and political turmoil in America.

The DNA analysis raised more questions than answers about the parking lot grave. How did these four people, who came from different ethnic and racial backgrounds, end up buried together in a Christian manner? What were their stories, and what were their roles in the society they lived in? Were they friends, lovers, enemies, or strangers? Were they victims of violence, disease, or injustice? Were they buried in the parking lot by choice, or by necessity?


The parking lot grave in New Brunswick, New Jersey, is a fascinating and mysterious piece of history, that offers a glimpse into the lives and deaths of four individuals in the colonial era. The grave challenges the conventional narratives and assumptions about the past, and invites us to explore the diversity and complexity of the human experience. The grave also reminds us that history is not only found in books and museums, but also in unexpected and ordinary places, such as a parking lot.

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