VCU panels recount 19th-century human remains found in an MCV Campus well

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Virginia Commonwealth University leaders and members of the East Marshall Street Well Project Family Representative Council, planning committee and implementation committee will unveil four panels that detail the story of the 19th-century human remains discovered in an abandoned well on the MCV Campus. A program and related discussion will take place at the Kontos Auditorium, 1217 E. Marshall St., on Friday, Sept. 24, at 12:30 p.m. 

The ancestral remains, uncovered 27 years ago during construction of the Hermes A. Kontos Medical Sciences Building, are believed to be largely of African descent. The remains were sent to the Smithsonian Institution for further study and are now housed at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources while the Family Representative Council works on recommendations for a more permanent memorial.

Interested community members are invited to view a livestream of the event at

Members of the media are invited to cover the unveiling and related program. Please be aware of the requirement to wear a mask when indoors on the VCU campus. Limited media parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis on the right side of 12th Street between Broad and Marshall streets next to the Hunton Student Center.

The panel unveiling is part of the VCU Office of Health Equity’s History and Health Program, which launched in March 2021 with the initial series focusing on racial equity. The multi-part virtual series began a journey of racial healing through virtual events that examine and challenge our understanding of VCU's role in the history of Richmond and the nation. The series recordings and modules are free and available for viewing. 

More information about the East Marshall Street Well Project and efforts to further study, memorialize and rebury the remains is available at