Local PA Cemetery Surveys

Laura Sherrod - 2013

There are many small family cemeteries with burials from as early as the 1700s located throughout Eastern Pennsylvania.  The land in this region was predominately used for farming, with mills and furnaces also serving as popular sources of income.  Several of these local cemeteries have fallen into a state of disrepair over the centuries.  Record-keeping is not always precise and headstones may become lost or misplaced over the course of time.  The Zimmermans are well known as important public figures in the Kutztown, Pennsylvania area.  Local historian, Carl Peterson, has reason to believe that the patriarch Sebastien Zimmerman and his wife Elizabeth were buried at a small cemetery known as the Geehr cemetery.  This cemetery contains only three grave markers enclosed by a wooden fence 3.3 m by 3.9 m.  However, none of the headstones are labeled with Sebastien's or Elizabeth's names.  Geophysical surveys were performed in the area surrounding the cemetery to determine if the extent of burials exceeds the confines of the fenced area.  A GSSI SIR 3000 GPR unit with 400MHz antenna, Geometrics G-858 magnetometer in gradiometer mode, and Geophex Gem2 were used for the surveys. 

GEL 358 students survey the Geehr Cemetery with the Gem2. 

Emily Snyder surveys the Siegfried cemetery with the GSSI GPR unit. 

The Siegfried cemetery, located 1.5 kilometers southeast of the Geehr cemetery, is much larger and enclosed by a rock wall 27.5 m by 30.5 m.  Local residents assert that the Siegfried's allowed less fortunate neighbors who did not have the means to bury their family member properly to bury their dead in the surrounding fields during the depression.  The interior of this cemetery was surveyed with the GPR and magnetometer and additional surveying was completed in the area adjacent to the cemetery walls.  The geophysical surveys show several anomalies indicative of unmarked burials inside the cemetery walls at the Siegfried cemetery and outside the cemetery walls at both the Siegfried and Geehr cemeteries.
Local PA Cemetery Siegfried Results
Local PA Cemetery Geehr Results
Archaeological Geophysics Ground Penetrating Radar
Electromagnetic Induction
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