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Burial Location Dispute

Burial Location Dispute
November 16
10:49 2015

While a California archaeologist claims to have discovered the burial site of 120 people killed in the 19th century at Mountain Meadows in southern Utah, a local group of historians says he is wrong.

Archaeologist Everett Bassett says he found two mass graves in a ravine on private land west of property recently purchased by the Mormon Church to honor the victims.

A wagon train of Arkansas emigrants on their way to California were ambushed by Mormon settlers and Paiute Indians in 1857 as retribution for the murder of church founder Joseph Smith in Missouri.  High church leaders, including Territorial Governor Brigham Young, have been implicated in what has come to be known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

Bassett says he used old U.S. Army records to discover two mass grave sites.  The Army was dispatched more than a year and a half after the ambush to bury the bodies, which had been left out on the ground.

Timothy Draper, a St. George historian, says that after spending time at the site investigating Bassett’s claim, “Things didn’t seem right.  Some red flags were raised.”

Beside the location being illogical because it is 800 yards from the massacre site, Draper said after testing the lichen growth on the rocks, it was determined that the rocks covering the site located by Bassett are not old enough to have been put there by the Army.

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