Sudbury’s Revolutionary War Cemetery GPR Study

Published July 16, 2012 | Historical Commission | Automatically Archived on 7/23/2012

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What is going on at the Revolutionary Cemetery? There are Yellow and Red flags all over and a DO NOT CROSS POLICE LINE TAPE.

Back at the 2010 town meeting we approved a CPC Historical article to use Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to search for grave stones and sites which are unmarked and may be buried in the ground over time. In layman's terms GPR operates by transmitting pulses of ultra high frequency radio waves down into the ground through a transducer or antenna. The transmitted energy is reflected from the buried objects between earth material. The antenna then receives the reflected waves and stores them in a digital control unit.

A contract was awarded to Topographix LLC Hudson NH in 2012 for a ground penetrating radar study including 3-D. Modeling at the Revolutionary War Cemetery, Bob Perry, owner operator.

That work is on going at the cemetery NOW. The yellow flags are marking possible grave sites. The red flags are marking the areas for each section of the study. We have marked 976 possible grave sites. Our summer interns have physically marked the grave site with a ten inch spike driven through a half inch washer driven into the ground. The washer was labeled with the flag number on both sides. This will enable us to locate the exact location of the flag point after removal of all the flags. PeopleGIS, Arlington MA, created an online map that allows mapping accuracy of the cemetery with the mapped flag locations. Ryan Norton, our GIS intern, was able to add the Revolutionary War Cemetery paper map as a layer so you can see where flags are in relation to existing tomb stones.

The Historical Commission request that you do not enter the cemetery until the DO NOT CROSS POLICE LINE tape is removed but come view the flags from the parking lot behind the town hall. It is Impressive that we have so many of our early citizens buried here.

We do not plan on digging up any of these grave sites. If we identify grave markers they will not be disturbed at this time. To unearth them will require an extensive permission process with the state and a return to the town meeting for approval and funding.