Park University students, staff search for lost graves at Old Pa - KCTV5

Park University students, staff search for lost graves at Old Parkville Cemetery

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The cemetery has been around for more than 170 years and in that time, the graves have been through a lot. (KCTV5) The cemetery has been around for more than 170 years and in that time, the graves have been through a lot. (KCTV5)
The goal is to find and identify as many people as possible so the community can honor and respect those who have passed. (KCTV5) The goal is to find and identify as many people as possible so the community can honor and respect those who have passed. (KCTV5)
PARKVILLE, MO (KCTV) -

Students and staff from a Kansas City area university are helping a metro city with an assignment nearly 200 years in the making.

Park University staff and students gathered at the Old Parkville Cemetery to help the city solve mysteries lost to time for centuries.

Since the 1840’s, several graves at the Old Parkville Cemetery have lost their markings or were never marked.

The cemetery has been around for more than 170 years and in that time, the graves have been through a lot.

But, through the use of ground-penetrating radar flown in from North Carolina, staff and students hope to change that.

“That’s the ground penetrating radar and it is sending a signal down and bouncing a signal back so it can really do a good job tracking where the soil’s been disturbed,” Park University Associate Dean of Natural and Applied Sciences Scott Hageman said.

Students from the geology and history department worked together to get the city to officially close the Old Parkville Cemetery so they could get in and work.

Each location of a possible grave will be marked with a flag.

Once staff and students have searched the whole cemetery they will make a map with all the potential grave sites.

They say they don’t know how many are unmarked and say they could find up to 150 graves.

“The real question is how many are back there. We really are curious if we're going to find 40 or 50 or 150,” Hageman said.

The goal is to find and identify as many people as possible so the community can honor and respect those who have passed.

“We have a master grid that explains a vast majority of them. Church records, fortunately, do a good job of giving us names, but we have a hard time matching to a location so we know they are buried there but we don’t' know where. We can make very logical guesses based on relationships with other people in the cemetery,” Hageman said.

They hope to have the finalized map by the end of May. The next step will be identifying who was buried in each site. 

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