A lost cemetery may be on the campus of a Florida high school, say experts and officials, sparking a high-tech search of the school’s grounds.
Researchers have been using a ground-penetrating radar to hunt for the cemetery on the campus of King High School in Tampa. “On Thursday, October 17th, it was brought to the district’s attention that a possible unmarked cemetery for indigent citizens may be on the campus of King High School,” said Hillsborough County Public Schools, in a statement released Oct. 24.
“It hurts, we have been through a lot in this city, we are a part of this city — where is our history?” Hillsborough County NAACP President Yvette Lewis told Fox 13. Lewis is also a member of the historical response committee formed by Hillsborough County Public Schools to handle the lost cemetery.
The school district notes that there is conflicting information on the cemetery’s possible location based on appraisals, deeds, aerial maps and historical and county records.
Researchers have been using ground-penetrating radar to hunt for the cemetery on the campus of King High School in Tampa.
(Hillsborough County Public Schools)
“It is a high priority of our district to make sure we find this cemetery, while respecting the people who may be buried there, as well as their families,” the school district said, explaining that it has brought in geophysical exploration specialist GeoView to map and scan the areas where the cemetery may be located.
The company began its work on Oct. 23. “If no signs of a cemetery are found during this initial scan, the radar scanning will move to the northeast corner of the King High School property where another document says the cemetery may be located.”
There is conflicting information on the cemetery’s possible location. (Hillsborough County Public Schools)
In a YouTube video posted by Hillsborough County Public Schools, GeoView President Paul Wightman explained that the radar scanning will be used to create a tridimensional representation of the area’s subsurface.
“Typically, for cemeteries with Christian burial, the remains are interred on an east to west orientation and so we get our best response when we go across the short axis of those buried remains,” he added. “By going north and south we’re going to be able to go across the short axis of it, and that’s going give us our cleanest response in terms of whether there’s something actually present or not.”
A spokesperson for Hillsborough County Public Schools told Fox News that results from the scanning are expected in one to two weeks. “We still have a crew doing the Ground Penetrating Radar at the school site,” she said.
Three “lost cemeteries” have been discovered in the Tampa area in the last year, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Earlier this year, archaeologists in Delaware announced the discovery of a Civil War soldier’s gravestone that may provide a vital clue in uncovering a long-lost African-American cemetery.
Ground-penetrating radar has been deployed in the search for the cemetery. (Hillsborough County Public Schools)
Last year, a newspaper article from almost 100 years ago shed new light on the mysterious tunnel network beneath the historic neighborhood of Ybor City in Tampa, Fla. A National Historic Landmark District, Ybor City is located northeast of downtown Tampa. The district’s tunnel network remains a source of fascination for historians.
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