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Finding Unmarked Burials

Ground penetrating radar for cemeteries

Cemeteries are home to a lot of history, with many US cemeteries having been around for hundreds of years. The passage of time affects each cemetery differently. Thanks to meticulous record-keeping and oversight, some historic cemeteries have pristine records. These cemeteries are, unfortunately, the exception and not the rule.

Finding unmarked burials
Finding unmarked burials

The fact is that unmarked graves and buried headstones are somewhat common problems for older cemeteries. But just because this information has been lost (at least temporarily) to history doesn’t mean it’s lost forever. In fact, finding unmarked burials and markers should be a priority for today’s cemeterians. Why? Accidentally selling unmarked spaces can result in embarrassing and potentially damaging situations.

The most effective way for finding unmarked burials and lost headstones on cemetery grounds is to use ground penetrating radar. Ground penetrating radar (also known as GPR) allows cemeteries to investigate large areas of land for underground anomalies, including buried markers, caskets, utilities, and other subsurface materials. Most GPR systems resemble push mowers and detect geological features and obstacles by sending a series of pulses into the ground.

The best part? GPR is non-intrusive, meaning that cemeteries can receive a detailed report on the subsurface of a given area without digging, excavating, or otherwise disrupting their grounds.

While ground penetrating radar has multiple applications, the technology is commonly used to survey cemetery grounds and can accurately detect most interments. Whether you’re surveying your cemetery grounds for headstones lost to time or trying to uncover previously unknown burials, GPR is an invaluable resource for cemetery managers. GPR can also identify changes in ground strata, underground pipes and unmarked utilities, air pockets and voids, groundwater tables, and materials like concrete, metal, plastic, and PVC.

Ground penetrating radar is commonly used when cemetery operators suspect burials are missing from their existing maps. However, that is not the only use case for GPR on cemetery grounds. Space is a big concern for today’s cemeteries, and ground penetrating radar systems are also useful when considering expansion.

Ready to scan your cemetery with GPR? Don’t forget to incorporate any findings into your cemetery maps. Ground penetrating radar gives cemetery managers important insights into the status of plots and sections at their cemetery. In turn, cemetery professionals must use this information to update their maps. Doing so will keep their sales team abreast of which plots are available to sell to local families.

Contact us today for a free quote.