Each person buried in this cemetery was placed in a wooden coffin built with hand-wrought or machine-cut nails and screws. Analysis of coffin hardware and artifacts - buttons, pins, fabric, and shoes - indicated that everyone died sometime between 1800 and 1860. Reseachers used these items to determine the growth and development of the Horse Park Cemetery. Nine burials dated to before 1830; five dated from 1830 to 1835; and 20 dated from 1835 to 1860.
At death, both European-Americans and African-Americans appear to have been treated much the same way. They were dressed in their best clothes, their arms carefully arranged across their chest, on their pelvis or adjacent to their body, and placed in a plain wooden coffin. Differences in age at death, height, weight, and pathologies, however, are evidenced in the bones of the two groups. They reflected the much harsher living and working conditions that slavery imposed on individuals of African descent.
Everyone interred in the Horse Park Cemetery engaged in hard work, but African-American adults appeared to have had shorter life spans, experienced more nutritional stress, were shorter, and weighed more than members of the Graves family. A diet high in sugar and starch would not have provided African-Americans adequate protein, thus poor diet could account for the differences in height and weight between the two groups.