Survey Of Falmouth’s Old Burying Ground Suggests More Burials Than Previously Thought

FALMOUTH – A recent geophysical survey performed by Heritage Consultants of Falmouth’s Old Burying Ground identified 805 marked burials and 826 probably unmarked burials, a total of over 1,600 burials that dwarfs the previously assumed count of about 800.

The non-invasive Ground Penetrating Radar system analyzed 10 grids of earth encompassing an area of about 4 acres, aided by old maps of the site, and sought to identify all marked and unmarked graves as well as evidence of earlier structures.

The ensuing search found the burials as well as evidence of an oval-like structure that may have been the original meeting house or perhaps a wetu, an indigenous home from the pre-contact or contact era.

Although seventeenth-century accounts exist of Native American villages on the Cape, the presence of a wetu or wigwam would be a significant finding due to the scarcity of native archaeological sites from this period.

Researchers stated in the report that the exceptionally preserved conditions of the cemetery may be of further use for non-invasive examination of skeletal remains and studies of burial taphonomy and regional burial practices.

All work was performed according to the Standards for Archeological Documentation set by the Department of the Interior.

About Matthew Tomlinson

Matt Tomlinson is a Cape Cod native studying to be a documentarian. He has been with the NewsCenter since 2021.
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