JACKSON, Miss. — In Jackson, Mississippi, a hospital stands on Asylum Hill, where the state’s first mental institution operated in the mid-1800s. Thousands of patients lived and died there, and this presents a challenge to expansion plans at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Radar has discovered as many as 7,000 unidentified bodies buried underground.

The Clarion-Ledger is reporting http://on.thec-l.com/2qdcO93 ) that a consortium of anthropologists, archaeologists and historians plans a memorial, a visitors’ center and lab to preserve and research the remains. Officials say they’ll do the work in-house, saving much of the $21 million cost of exhuming and reburying each body.

Officials say the lab could explore pre-modern health care for institutionalized patients. Some descendants want DNA collected to identify remains for family members.

Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com

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