GSU students get experience at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta

Submitted by Sammy Smith (


When the March 2008 tornado struck the downtown area, Atlanta’s historic Oakland Cemetery especially suffered from the root balls brought up by toppled trees. Historic Oakland Foundation Director of Restoration and Landscapes Kevin Kuharic recognized that some of the root balls had the potential for containing human remains, and requested assistance from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR). State Archaeologist Dr. Dave Crass.

Dr. Crass in turn recruited Dr. Jeffrey Glover, an archaeology professor at Georgia State University, who marshaled GSU students to do the fieldwork. GSU students and DNR personnel were assisted in this sensitive recovery mission by Atlanta city employees and volunteers.

Careful examination of the root balls did not reveal any human remains. However, one root ball had two small Civil War-era porcelain buttons, probably for shirt collars or cuffs.

On 25 March, the Historic Preservation Division published a press release detailing this information, from which this story was written. The HPD has a webpage with useful information about historic cemeteries.

Where to find it