Tag: Georgia

Some 872 probable human remains have been discovered in the African American section of Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery. Information about upcoming preservation efforts are to be provided Saturday during a Juneteenth program sponsored by the Historic Oakland Foundation.

Source: Oakland Cemetery contains some 872 remains in African American section – SaportaReport

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Oakland Cemetery is a beautiful historic site located in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. Its mausoleums and structures adorned with gardens and bird sanctuaries provide an enchanting green space where photo shoots, picnics, walks, and other events occur. Visitors come from near and far to enjoy this unique and serine ambiance with a vast history.

But who is buried at Oakland Cemetery? There are a number of famous people buried at Oakland including Ivan Allen, Jr., Joseph M. Brown, Martha Lumpkin Compton, Margaret Mitchell, and more. But what of those who are not famous? Many graves are now unmarked and there are fragmented records of the individuals who lie beneath. So, how do we honor and remember those who lay quietly underground with no marking, no record?


In an attempt to bring to light where and how many individuals might be buried without markers, Bigman Geophysical, LLC was hired by the Historic Oakland Foundation to survey the African American section of the cemetery. During the time spent at Oakland, Bigman Geophysical located 800+ possible unmarked graves using noninvasive geophysical technology known as ground penetrating radar (GPR).


GPR sends electromagnetic pulses into the ground which reflect back to the GPR console when it comes across changes within the subsurface such disturbed soil versus compact soil. Bigman Geophysical flagged these potential unmarked graves and recorded GPS coordinates for them so that the Historic Oakland Foundation can preserve and plan for the future. The final resting places of these people can now remain undisturbed during any refurbishments and they can be honored and remembered as visitors walk through the cemetery.

“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

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RTC funds imaging project to locate unmarked graves in Anderson Cemetery

Recently, Ringgold Telephone Company (RTC) funded a project to locate over 100 unmarked graves within the boundaries of the historic Nathan Anderson Cemetery in downtown Ringgold. Rumors have long circled the old cemetery, offering various accounts of unmarked burial sites belonging to early settlers—Euro-Americans, African Americans, and Native Americans.

Bigman Geophysical was tasked with the detailed process of locating these graves through non-invasive ground penetration radar (GPR). Dr. Bigman used geophysical imaging (tomography) to locate changes or disruptions in the subsurface. Recently, this same technology was used to discover what historians believe to be an ancient pagan ritual site near Stonehenge in southern England. Nearly 100 stones–thought to be over 4,500 years old–were discovered without disturbance of the landscape. Through a similar technique and with his state of the art equipment, Bigman was able to locate over 100 significant disruptions in the subsurface of Nathan Anderson Cemetery. Because of the pattern, spacing, and regularity of the findings, he was able to determine that the vast majority of the findings are, in fact, unmarked graves.

Daniel Bigman, owner of the surveying company, is very passionate about his work. “Each interred individual deserves to have his or her place in Georgia’s history marked in perpetuity,” Bigman states.

Bigman said he found the social component of Nathan Anderson Cemetery most exciting. “What I find so fascinating is people fulfilling a variety of roles in society were buried together. A cemetery is often a reflection of society. The way you are treated in death often reflects how you were treated in life.”

When asked about why this project is important, Bigman responded, “Cemeteries are places of historical significance. They contain the biological and material documentation of our shared past. The likelihood that there are many people with unmarked burials here from various cultural and historic backgrounds makes this place particularly special. It points to the complex history of Georgia and the Southeast. Which is why surveying the Anderson Cemetery was so important to me.”

Read the original article here.



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