Bodies found at Texas school construction site believed to be sl - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Bodies found at Texas school construction site believed to be slaves

The 95 bodies appear to be male and were most likely part of a convict labor camp. (Source: KTRK/CNN) The 95 bodies appear to be male and were most likely part of a convict labor camp. (Source: KTRK/CNN)

SURGAR LAND, TX (KTRK/CNN) - Nearly 100 graves found at a school construction site in Texas are believed to be the remains of slaves.

Crews were building a technology center in Sugar Land, TX when they discovered the bodies.

"It's huge, it's unprecedented,” said Reign Clark, an archaeological project manager. "This will change our understanding of the convict labor system that was used all over the state."

More than a century after their deaths, the abuse was still obvious. You can see it in the chains they wore and the tools they worked with.

"When you do activity over and over and over again, and you're doing heavy labor, it will actually stress the attachments where the muscles are attached to the bone and it will actually leave marks and actually change the shape of the bone," said Catrina Banks-Whitley, a bio-archaeologist. "And so we're seeing a lot of (evidence that) shows they were doing very heavy labor from probably a very young age."

All of the 95 bodies appear to be male aged 14 to 60. They were most likely part of a convict labor camp.

In a system that was widespread in the South after the Civil War, freed slaves were arrested, then taken from state prisons and forced to work in places like Sugar Land, where sugar production drove the local economy.

"The guards out here used to tell the men, 'you're worth less than that mule over here because we have to pay for the mule and the sheriff will bring more of you guys anytime you need it,' " said Richard Vogel, a sociologist.

Fort Bend officials are now working with historians to find a place to re-bury these bodies with the honor they deserve.

But now the question is could there be other hidden cemeteries like this in Sugar Land?

"There are at least two or three other likely convict labor camps and it's likely that there could be cemeteries associated with each," Clark said.

"They should have some sort of memorial and museum that we're trying to put together and also a memorial at the state capitol that these guys built off the public labor," said Reginald Moore of the Texas Labor Society Center.

Copyright 2018 KTRK via CNN. All rights reserved.

  • Raycom reportsRaycom reportsMore>>

  • Italy's leader demands safe roads; bridge toll rises to 43

    Italy's leader demands safe roads; bridge toll rises to 43

    Saturday, August 18 2018 4:10 AM EDT2018-08-18 08:10:33 GMT
    Saturday, August 18 2018 7:18 PM EDT2018-08-18 23:18:48 GMT
    (Luca Zennaro/ANSA via AP). Firefighters remove debris of the collapsed Morandi highway bridge in Genoa, Italy, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. Italian authorities have lowered the death to 38 from 39 in the collapse of a highway bridge in Genoa. Genoa Prefec...(Luca Zennaro/ANSA via AP). Firefighters remove debris of the collapsed Morandi highway bridge in Genoa, Italy, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. Italian authorities have lowered the death to 38 from 39 in the collapse of a highway bridge in Genoa. Genoa Prefec...

    Italian media say three more bodies have been found in the rubble of the Genoa bridge collapse, raising the death toll to 41.

    Italian media say three more bodies have been found in the rubble of the Genoa bridge collapse, raising the death toll to 41.

  • Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan dies at age 80

    Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan dies at age 80

    Saturday, August 18 2018 6:00 AM EDT2018-08-18 10:00:29 GMT
    Saturday, August 18 2018 7:18 PM EDT2018-08-18 23:18:32 GMT
    Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has died at the age of 80. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has died at the age of 80. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    Kofi Annan, one of the world's most celebrated diplomats and a charismatic symbol of the United Nations who rose through its ranks to become the first black African secretary-general, has died.

    Kofi Annan, one of the world's most celebrated diplomats and a charismatic symbol of the United Nations who rose through its ranks to become the first black African secretary-general, has died.

  • Trump says he 'won't let' social media target conservatives

    Trump says he 'won't let' social media target conservatives

    Saturday, August 18 2018 9:48 AM EDT2018-08-18 13:48:43 GMT
    Saturday, August 18 2018 7:04 PM EDT2018-08-18 23:04:18 GMT
    President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. (Source: AP Photo/Pablo MartinPresident Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. (Source: AP Photo/Pablo Martin

    President Donald Trump is accusing social media companies of "totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices" and says he "we won't let that happen.".

    President Donald Trump is accusing social media companies of "totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices" and says he "we won't let that happen.".

Powered by Frankly