Anthropology Blog

Posted on February 14th, 2024 in Faculty, Research by Sydney Bielefeld

This story was inspired by 13News’ article on Greenlawn Cemetery and Dr. Jeremy Wilson

In the heart of Indianapolis, a tale as old as time unfolds, revealing fragments of lives long past. The former Greenlawn Cemetery, nestled along the tranquil banks of the White River downtown, has become a site of intrigue and historical significance. Amidst the bustling projects of urban development, the echoes of forgotten stories resurface, thanks to the diligent work of individuals like Dr. Jeremy Wilson.

Jeremy Wilson - Greenlawn Cemetery project

At the helm of this archaeological exploration stands Dr. Wilson, a seasoned bioarchaeologist and esteemed professor chairing the anthropology department here at IU’s School of Liberal Arts. Tasked by the city of Indianapolis and the Keystone Group, Dr. Wilson’s expertise illuminates the path toward understanding the enigmatic lives entombed beneath the earth.

“We have a unique opportunity to learn about those lives and those individuals and tell their stories,” Dr. Wilson passionately expresses, embodying the essence of his calling. His dedication to unraveling the mysteries of the past breathes life into the skeletal remains unearthed amidst the construction endeavors.

With meticulous care, Dr. Wilson and his team embark on a journey of discovery, meticulously cataloging and analyzing each fragment brought forth from the depths of history. From the delicate process of cleaning the remains to the intricate task of developing a biological profile for each individual, their efforts weave together a narrative transcending time itself.

“In many ways, we are telling or creating a biography from their skeletal remains,” Dr. Wilson elucidates, his words resonating with reverence for the lives once lived. Through the artistry of science, age-old questions find answers as the past finds a voice through the silent testimony of bones.

Yet, the road to understanding is not without its challenges. The preservation of the remains presents a formidable obstacle, bearing the scars of time and human intervention. Despite the hurdles, Dr. Wilson’s unwavering resolve fuels the pursuit of knowledge, bridging the gap between past and present.

Beyond the confines of academia, Dr. Wilson extends his passion for discovery to the next generation, inviting students to partake in the unfolding saga of history. By nurturing a spirit of curiosity and inquiry, he paves the way for future stewards of knowledge, ensuring that the flame of exploration burns bright for years to come.

As the story of Greenlawn Cemetery continues to unfold, it is individuals like Dr. Jeremy Wilson who serve as beacons of insight, guiding us through the labyrinth of time. Their tireless efforts remind us that beneath the veneer of modernity lies a tapestry of human experience waiting to be unveiled, one fragment at a time.