3D technology used in search for clues in once-hidden cemetery

Texas A&M experts use 3D laser technology

SAN ANTONIO – Experts used 3D laser technology, which is able scan 360 degrees, Friday at a long hidden African-American cemetery in northeast San Antonio, on land once owned by freed slave Jane Warren and her family.

Kevin Glowacki, director of the Texas A&M Center for Heritage Conservation, said the findings could reveal clues not seen by the naked eye.

“Depressions on the ground or mounds in the ground that might indicate human remains that we can’t see yet,” Glowacki said.

Everett Fly, a landscape architect who is nationally known for his work on historic sites, is helping the Hockley family, Warren’s descendants, restore their cemetery.

“They’re excited, very excited,” Fly said. “It’s been 106 years.”

Before it was totally overgrown after the Northern Hills subdivision encircled three sides of the cemetery, Fly said, someone told him that they remembered seeing headstones that are now long gone.

Fly said he and the family are deciding what would be the best way to honor those buried there, perhaps with a single plaque with their names.

He said the Hockley Cemetery is already listed by the Texas Historical Commission on its Cemetery Atlas.

Given Jane Warren’s prominence as a former slave who owned 100 acres and was the first African-American woman to have a cattle brand, Fly said: “Now, that we’re piecing together family history, I think it would qualify as a designated state of Texas cemetery. That’s the next step.”

Glowacki said he may have preliminary results of the 3D laser scan this weekend and a complete finding in 45 days. He said ground penetrating radar could be used next to locate the actual burial plots.

Fly said it’s believed at least 100 graves were in the Hockley Cemetery.    

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