Ground-penetrating radar finds unmarked graves at historic homestead site

In the cemetery, Nathan and Olive Boone’s graves are among the few of the known locations.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources usually uses ground-penetrating radar, or GPR, for finding waterlines and leaks or buried tanks.

However, the department put that technology to another use at Nathan and Olive Boone Homestead State Historic Site, where several unmarked graves in both cemeteries on the property were discovered.

“During my new employee orientation with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Division of State Parks, I had the opportunity to tour the different divisions within the agency,” said Mike Busekrus, site superintendent. 

“When I visited the Environmental Emergency Response team, I saw the ground-penetrating radar. I thought that’s something I should keep in mind, but I wasn’t sure why. 

“I didn’t know when or why I’d need it, but I tucked that information away.”

Busekrus is charged with managing the state historic site near Ash Grove, Mo. The site includes almost 400 acres of Nathan and Olive Boone’s original homestead, remnants of outbuildings and two separate cemeteries; one for the Boone family and one for the enslaved people who worked on the farm.

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