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Oaklawn Cemetery

Using ground penetrating radar and archival research to find historic burial sites

  • 6.5

    Acres Surveyed

  • St. Petersburg, Florida

    St. Petersburg, Florida

Solving the riddle of the cemetery

As a part of planned redevelopment of a downtown parking lot, the City of St. Petersburg determined that Oaklawn Cemetery, established in the early 1900s, was once situated in the area. With unresolved questions about the cemetery, including whether graves had been moved in the past, the City engaged us to help find the answers—our cultural resources team is composed of archeologists, historians, and geophysical survey analysts who understand the complexities of investigating cemeteries, burial grounds, and other sacred areas.

We conducted a multi-instrument ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of approximately 6.5 acres despite the presence of complicated utilities across the property. A multi-antenna GPR system being pulled behind a vehicle allowed for rapid data collection within the parking lot, while a traditional single channel GPR was used in less accessible areas. Combining these data, our team identified several areas of anomalies that could be related to historic burials or cemetery features. In addition to the GPR survey, our historians discovered grave lot deeds that were vital in understanding the distribution of possible burials across Oaklawn Cemetery.

The City of St. Petersburg got the answers they needed—our multi-instrument approach provided important data that will inform future decisions for developing this site.

At a Glance

  • City of St. Petersburg

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