Advanced Geophysical Tools Support Archaeology Investigation

The planned development of property in Tampa, Florida led to the discovery of a cemetery founded in 1901 that was no longer part of city maps after 1925. A public housing complex and two private companies had unknowingly been built on top of the two and a half acres that had been part of the original Zion cemetery, one of the first African American cemeteries in Tampa. Determining whether the remains had been exhumed and moved to another location became a priority of multiple groups in Tampa. Archaeologists involved in the investigations contacted T2 Utility Engineers (T2) to discuss the ability of advanced geotechnical tools to gather subsurface detail for this sensitive project.

After an initial evaluation, T2 recommended a phased data collection approach. Historic maps were reviewed in relation to the current site infrastructure to better understand the cemetery layout. Using Leica C10, a terrestrial laser scan was made of the buildings and open spaces. This technology captured millions of 3D data points in high-resolution digital color imagery to provide a realistic and accurate representation of the area.

Once the terrestrial laser scanning data was combined with the 1901 cemetery map, T2 used Stream C Multichannel GPR (MCGPR) to capture 3D data of the subsurface features in real-time using RTK GPS. The data was processed to detail the differences in subsurface conditions allowing the forensic specialists to focus their investigations and resources on particular areas within the project site. The approaches and technology that T2 Utility Engineers used in this investigation were successful in providing information of value. This project highlights the comprehensive underground information that can be used to efficiently identify underground unknowns. Contact us to learn more.

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