High-Tech Search For Mass Graves Requires Precautions

Tuesday, October 8th 2019, 8:55 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

The Oklahoma Archaeological Survey team worked to redo some of its work Tuesday with ground-penetrating radar technology at Oaklawn Cemetery. The team said most of the work done Monday showed inconclusive results because of cell phone interference.

While anyone who comes out to watch the work will be greeted by a security guard and kept back by about 300 feet, Senior Researcher Scott Hammerstedt has made some adjustments of his own.

"It's just a little bit easier for us to make sure we have decent data,” he said.

He is doing the work without wearing his glasses.

"My glasses have metal in them, so I can't wear those,” he said.

He proudly wears his OU hat, but even that needed to be modified so he could wear it while working with the sensitive technology. He said he cut off the metal button on the top of the hat.

He wears metal-free clothing while working with the technology. He also wears a special wedding ring that won’t interrupt his work.

"I actually have a titanium wedding ring, because it does not react,” Hammerstedt said.

He said while he is disappointed Monday's work had to be redone, he isn't surprised. He wants people to know that they are more than welcome to come inside the cemetery, just keep your distance.

"This is a very transparent process,” he said. “We want people to be out and come out and see us. We just need them to be a little bit further away than they were yesterday."

Crews will be at Oaklawn from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. through Thursday. They will move on to Newblock Park when they are done at Oaklawn Cemetery.