I am happy to announce that geophysical research will begin this week, June 11-13, 2019 at the site of the Old First Presbyterian Church, its original burying ground, and the city’s original public cemetery, now collectively called “the Old City Cemetery.” The UT Knoxville funded research is being led by Co-Directors geophysicists Dr. Iftekhar Alam and Dr. Willian Doll of UT, Knoxville. A few students will also work on the project. Briefly, the research includes using three different geophysical instruments, a Geosensors electromagnetic instrument, a magnetometer, and ground penetrating radar to provide images of what lies underground. We know there are several buried gravestones, box tombs, unmarked graves, and empty shafts in the original burying ground and cemetery. This project will provide information as to their location and also some understanding of any previous pathways, buried family plot fence remnants, and other underground materials and features. Investigating the area of the Old Presbyterian Church will potentially reveal features that may help us understand more fully the past activity at the church, its burying ground, and the surrounding area. We are indeed fortunate to be having this research provided for us and it will be a tremendous aid for the conservation, preservation, and public interpretation of this historic site.
Laura Bartel, M.A.
Director, Murfreesboro’s Old City Cemetery Project