Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Subcategory: Geosciences and Earth Sciences
D'Andre Garrison - Kentucky State University
Co-Author(s): Jarod Jones, Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY ; Jordan Wilson,Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY; Jeremy Sandifer, Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY ; Ken Bates, Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY
A surprisingly common problem faced by historians and genealogist who specialize in assessing the cultural significance of cemetery locations is the identification of areas containing unmarked burial locations, especially for cemeteries that have lost or lack accurate historical records.
This current project involves the characterization of surface and subsurface features of locations suspected of containing unmarked burial locations at The Frankfort Cemetery, located in Frankfort, Kentucky.
First, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) was used to verify the existence of several unmarked gravesites and to characterize the spatial extent and directional orientation of the gravesites for a sample area within the cemetery. Next, aerial-based light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data was used to quantify surface attributes of the identified unmarked gravesites including surface elevations and signal return intensities. Lastly, the spatial correlation of GPR results are evaluated against the LiDAR results to assess the degree to which the grave features are identified across both sets of results.
Preliminary results reveal a high number of unmarked burials including 15 locations positively identified in multiple GPR transects totaling 200 feet. GPR transects ran from approximately north to south and indicated the graves to be orientated (lengthwise) approximately east to west, as is typical for other burial location patterns within the cemetery. In multiple cases, LiDAR return intensity increases were spatially coincident with unmarked burial sites. LiDAR elevation values were considerably less effective at indicating the presence of unmarked burials. These early results suggest that a combination of GPR and aerial-based LiDAR yield an effective and non-invasive option for identifying unknown burial sites.
Future work at the cemetery involves the use of terrestrial-based ultra-high precision LiDAR scanning equipment to reconstruct the exact topography of the suspected burial sites. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with multiple optical sensors are also being deployed in an effort to sense any variation in surface color or condition that may be linked to the presence of unmarked burials.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Developing Minor in Geoscience Application at Kentucky State University NSF-HBCU-UP_TIP #1332477; Promoting Minority Students' Participation in STEM-Undergraduate Degree Programs, NSF HBCU-UP-TIP #1436426; Strengthening Environmental Science Program for Preparing Minority Young Scientists for the 21st Century USDA/NIFA # 2013-38821-21120
Faculty Advisor: Buddhi Gyawali, Buddhi.Gyawali@kysu.edu
Role: I was involved in aspects of the project, including literature review, data collection, LiDAR processing, and writing.