The Hillsborough County school district said Wednesday that geophysical technicians found “clear evidence” of burials at the Clarence Leon King High School campus.
Tanya Arja, a spokeswoman with the school district, said officials began investigating last month after a person told a school board member of the possible location of the cemetery.
For nearly two weeks, technicians hired by the district used ground penetrating radar to confirm the location of the caskets. The coffins are buried 3-5 feet deep in about an acre of open land, and near a small building used by school’s agricultural program, the district said.
“The radar, by itself, cannot tell exactly what is under the surface,” the district said in a statement. “However, the pattern of the findings matches with historical records of a one-acre cemetery on the site.”
Records indicate the site could hold the remains of more than 250 people, nearly all of whom were African American, the school district said.
The area has been fenced off since last month and will remain like that for the time being. The Hillsborough County Medical Examiner and the state’s archeologists are expected to review the district’s findings in the next 30 days. The agencies will decide whether they will take possession of the land or turn it back to the school district, officials said.
Since then, the Tampa Housing Authority has been working to relocate nearly 100 residents of the Robles Park Village.
When asked about the two burial sites on Wednesday, Ashley Bauman, a spokeswoman for the City of Tampa, deferred all questions to the school district.
“I am sick of this. This hurts. Deeply. That we can be thrown away and nobody tells our history. Nobody is telling these people’s history and these people’s story,” Lewis said.