Blessings begin Drybread Cemetery project

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A four-week archaeology project at Drybread Cemetery began this week with prayers and blessings by Anglican vicar the Rev Penny Sinnamon, of Omakau, and Leslie and Maisie Wong, of Dunedin, representing the Chinese community.

The project is run by the University of Otago and Southern Archaeology alongside the Drybread Cemetery Trust.

Trust spokeswoman Karen Glassford approached the project team to help uncover if there were any hidden plots, as well as searching for the former Drybread settlement.

‘‘With the university’s help, we can finally establish occupancy or vacancy over our unknown burial plots in a professional and sensitive manner,’’ she said.

Southern Archaeology director Dr Peter Petchey said only after removing topsoil could markings in the ground reveal where there might be a grave.

Department of Archaeology research fellow Dr Charlotte King said remains would be analysed in Dunedin to build a possible picture of who the person was, including ethnicity, age and gender.

The remains would then be reburied on site with markings explaining what researchers were able to find out, Dr King said.

Our heart is our temple … Leslie and Maisie Wong, of Dunedin perform a Chinese spiritual blessing and prayer at Drybread Cemetery. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON