TU Students Learn About Mass Graves Search At Oaklawn Cemetery

Wednesday, October 9th 2019, 8:18 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

The rain at Oaklawn Cemetery only caused the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey team to miss about an hour of work Wednesday.

"I'm pleased despite the weather,” Senior Researcher Scott Hammerstedt said.

Hammerstedt said the team is basically caught up after cell phone interference disrupted work earlier this week.

He described how the rain impacts what they're doing.

"It mostly just impacts our good spirits,” he said. “Some of the equipment we have is English-made so it's very water resistant. The only one that really slows down is the ground-penetrating radar because that's got an Android tablet that they don't have a waterproof case for."

Students from the University of Tulsa were also on the search site Wednesday. The students are studying either historical archeology or museum studies.

"I am very excited to be here,” Emily McKenzie said.

McKenzie is earning her master’s degree in museum studies, and said she has always had an interest in Tulsa's dark past.

"I learned about the Tulsa Race Massacre when I was in college, which really appalled me."

While results from the searches at four locations will not be revealed until early next year, she is thinking about the potential of what could be found.

"This material will have to be interpreted and archived and saved,” McKenzie said.

As someone with a passion for preserving history, she is excited about informing the public about whatever discoveries are made.

Until then, the survey team is prepared for Thursday’s focus, which will be scanning the southern edge of the cemetery.

Some people have asked if the team will be searching under parts of the IDL. Hammerstedt addressed that and said with so much metal in the highway, the technology simply will not pick up on anything there.

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