This archaeological project came into being in April 2012 after James Johnston, author of "From Slave Ship to Harvard: Yarrow Mamout and the History of an African American Family", notified the D.C. City Archaeologist , Dr. Ruth Trocolli, that there was a possible 19th century burial at 3324 Dent Place that was at risk of being disturbed. The District was moving to demolish an 1850s house that stood on the property due to neglect following its partial destruction from Hurricane Irene in 2011. Despite not having a clear legal mandate to conduct archaeological investigations on privately owned property, the DC HPO received verbal and written permission from the property owner to conduct the investigations.
Over the course of the last several years, District Leadership Program (DLP) interns in the Historic Preservation Office (HPO), have been assisting the City Archaeologist and Assistant City Archaeologist, Charde Reid, with developing an archaeological work plan, conducting historical background research consulting historic maps, photographs, documents, and archaeological reports on investigations conducted within the vicinity of 3324 Dent Place.
While interning with the DC HPO in summer 2014 through the DLP, Mia L. Carey, became interested in the project and in consultation with Dr. Ruth Trocolli, decided to pursue the project as part of her dissertation research. In summer 2015, Mia returned again as a DLP intern to be the project's field director.