East Marshall Street Well Project

In April 1994, human bones and artifacts from the 19th century were discovered in an abandoned well uncovered during construction on Virginia Commonwealth University’s MCV Campus. The well’s contents are believed to have been discarded in the 1800s by medical staff.

These humans, mainly of African descent, were not shown the respect they were due, neither in life nor in death. The university is committed to moving forward in a manner reflecting the dignity that should be accorded these individuals and has created the East Marshall Street Well Project to facilitate a process with the community that ensures the remains receive appropriate study, memorialization and reburial.

Learn more about the EMSW Project

A large banner image of an antiquated map of Richmond


Representatives of the descendant community have put forth recommendations to support appropriate research, memorialization and interment of the individuals whose remains were discovered on the MCV campus.

Memorialization and interment

See the latest steps taken to memorialize and inter the individuals whose remains were discovered in the East Marshall Street Well.

The Elegba Folklore Society led a processional, pouring of libations and prayer upon the return of the ancestral remains to Richmond.


Follow the progress of researchers as they study the human remains and artifacts discovered in the East Marshall Street Well. 

The 19th century human remains discovered in 1994 in an abandoned well on the MCV Campus were transferred Thursday from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to VCU's Department of Forensic Science.
community consultation participants sitting at tables

Community Engagement

The EMSW Project seeks to reinvigorate community and VCU faculty involvement in public education, community research and ongoing public communication around the history of structural and medical racism. 


EMSW community update

June 3

Join VCU and fellow community members for an update on the East Marshall Street Well Project.