Tribune-Courier General Manager
Dr. Kenneth Carstens, professor emeritus of the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at Murray State University, was scheduled to appear before the Benton City Council last night to present a proposal for work at the site of the Children’s Art Center. On Sept. 4 workers unearthed human remains while working on the parking lot of the center.
Carstens confirmed late last week he has visited the site several times and has been in contact with officials in Frankfort to obtain a permit allowing him to be on the site to perform an archaeological survey of the property. Carstens also said he has requested the Office of Local Government redefine the boundary of the site that is currently cordoned off to workers and volunteers.
On Sept. 6 state officials advised the City of Benton to close the entire area on the property at 12th and Elm streets to all work until the site was inspected.
“The area of the Center really doesn’t need to be closed to workers in order for us to do our work in the field,” said Carstens. “We have asked them to allow workers and volunteers back in there.”
As of press time on Monday, however, the Children’s Arts Center remained closed.
Dr. Carstens said once he has a release to begin his work he believes it will take no more than a week or two to determine how many graves are buried on the property. He said he will perform a cultural resource study to determine if the site merits registration on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Archives of the Marshall County Genealogical Society document evidence of several members of the John Warren Brandon family being buried on the property. The family lived at the corner of 12th and Elm streets in the mid-late 1800s. It is believed as many as three infants and four adults may be buried in the small private Brandon family cemetery.