Paper No. 96-54
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
APPLICATION OF GPR TO LOCATING EARLY REPUBLIC PERIOD GRAVES IN A HISTORIC GRAVEYARD, EAST BLOOMFIELD, NY
The village of East Bloomfield, located southeast of Rochester, NY, was settles in the early 1790s. The first settles established a church and graveyard to support the new farming community. The first graveyard was used from 1793 until the early 1830s, when land for a new graveyard was obtained nearby. In 1834, historic records show that the village leaders decided to move the gravestones to the new graveyard, but there is no indication that bodies were exhumed and relocated. Rather, village records indicate that the land should be preserved as a historic park, and it was deeded to the church school. These plans were never carried out, and the property was divided, and used for numerous purposes over the years. At present, the property is being obtained by the local historical museum, with plans to follow through with the original village wishes.
In this study, GPR was used in an attempt to locate the former grave sites. While more recent burial plots often produce strong dome-shaped reflections, the caskets for these burials were simple wood boxes that have likely decayed. The survey does not reveal any distinct dome-shaped reflections, but does show numerous narrow down-warped signatures which may represent soil slumping as the caskets decayed over time. While the specific location of graves was not previously known, the number of potential burial sites in the area surveyed is consistent with the number of gravestones known to have been moved.