Carolyn Rock Featured for Volunteer Work at Pauper Cemetery

Carolyn Rock was recently featured in an Atlanta Journal Constitution article discussing her work at a St. Marys cemetery.  Located near the well-known Oak Grove Cemetery is separate a 1.73-acre plot of land that was used for the burial of indigents, criminals, and enslaved people since the 18th century. As with many pauper cemeteries, records of the burials and maps of the plots at this cemetery are scarce or non-existent. The last burial that took place at the pauper’s cemetery is believed to have been in 1912, of an executed murderer.

The number and location of burials at the pauper cemetery is unknown, but work is currently underway to try to answer these basic questions. Carolyn Rock, an archaeologist with our Savannah office, is assisting two local groups, the Guale Historical Society and the Bryan Lang Archives, who have been interested in learning more about the cemetery.  After to speaking to Rachel Black and the Georgia State Historic Preservation Office, Ms. Rock determined that the best way to search for any potential graves was to use a soil probe to test the density of the ground surface. Soil above a grave will usually feel less dense, or looser, than ground that has not been disturbed. Ground penetrating radar, or GPR, which is often used to research unmarked graves, could not be conducted here due to the number of trees and undergrowth on the property.

Ms. Rock is volunteering her time on the project, and expects that it will take several more weekend’s worth of systematic probing before a fuller picture of the number and placement of the burials begins to emerge. We congratulate Carolyn on her efforts to help the local community understand more about St. Marys past.

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