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“Nat Turner’s Bones: Reassembling an American Rebel”

February 22, 2017 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz will discuss the archaeological search for the remains of slave rebel Nat Turner, who was executed in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831. Turner’s gruesome story was told in the recent feature film The Birth of a Nation.

This event is co-sponsored by Old City Cemetery and Jones Memorial Library.

Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz is a historical archaeologist and historian, and a Research Associate at the James River Institute for Archaeology. She holds a B.A. in Black Studies from The College of William and Mary, and a M.A. in African American Studies, and a Ph.D. in African Diaspora Studies from the University of California at Berkeley.

She specializes in early African American culture, African Diaspora archaeology, slavery, visual and material culture, cultural landscapes, cultural tourism, memorials, and public history.

Deetz has taught at U.C. Berkeley, Randolph College, Roanoke College, UVA, and Lynchburg College. She also facilitates dialogues related to racial tensions at Colleges and Universities, and works as a historical consultant for several museum sites.

In 2015 she was the material culture adviser for the film The Birth of a Nation, and has recently partnered with National Geographic to work on projects related to Nat Turner.

Deetz authored the cover story for the Jan/Feb 2017 National Geographic History Magazine, and was a contributor to Birth of a Nation: Nat Turner and the Making of a Movement (Simon and Schuster, 2016).  Her forthcoming book Bound to the Fire: Virginia’s Enslaved Cooks and the Birth of an American Myth (University Press of Kentucky), is due for publication in the fall of 2017.

These bone fragments, excavated by Dr. Deetz in Southampton County, Virginia, may belong to Nat Turner.


February 22, 2017
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Old City Cemetery
(434) 847-1465


Jones Memorial Library
2311 Memorial Avenue
Lynchburg, VA 24501 United States
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All events are sponsored by the Southern Memorial Association.

Please contact us for more information about the Old City Cemetery or any of these events.


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