W. Montague Cobb Research Laboratory

Unlocking Over 400 Years of African American History



The vision at the W. Montague Cobb Research Laboratory emphasizes allowing biological anthropology to take the lead in expanding the frontiers of an inclusive integrative anthropologic mindset into the broad dimensions of science. Howard University has had a long commitment to understanding the societal implications of science and we do not expect to waiver from this now. 

The laboratory is a unique and priceless resource for research on the human skeletal and bio-archaeological collections housed therein. The important collections of the Cobb Research Laboratory (CRL) are the Cobb Collection and the New York African Burial Ground.  In addition, we have recently been granted access to the BADU collection. 

The Cobb Collection is unique in that it is the only skeletal collection residing at a historically black college/ university (HBCU) and lends itself to novel insights about the lives and deaths of Americans living in the Washington, D.C. area during that time.  

The New York African Burial Ground (NYABG) Collection at the CRL consists of soil and bioskeletal samples from the NYABG Project. This project unearthed 419 skeletons and related artifacts from a previously unknown and unmarked grave site in Manhattan, NY in 1991. Bioarchaelogists confirmed that these individuals were in fact enslaved Africans and African Americans from the 17th and 18th century. This discovery was deemed significant, so much so that the burial site has been commemorated as a National Monument and protected by the United States National Park Service.

Dr. Fatimah Jackson
Howard University Interdisciplinary Research Building
2224 Georgia Ave NW, 4th Floor
Washington DC, 20059