Tuesday, October 30, 2012

High-Tech Tomb Hunter Finds Unmarked Graves for a Living

By Marty Graham, Wired Magazine

Elizabeth Agin’s professional popularity is simple and deep: The Tennessee-based cemetery science investigator knows where the bodies are buried -- and she can find out where there are more.

In the past five years Agin, 31, has identified hundreds of unmarked graves, using a combination of ground-penetrating radar (GPR), GPS, geospatial software and a sharp eye. She's one of a handful of specialists hired chiefly by cemeteries and construction survey teams -- people who need to move bodies, count them or identify them and the extra space around them.

It's an obscure science, and one that's generating renewed interest as a new search for remains of people murdered by the notorious Manson family unfolds at two California ranches. Agin says that some of the techniques she uses could help searchers, who are relying on cadaver-sniffing dogs, soil samples and ground-penetrating radar to try to identify grave sites.

You can read the complete story by clicking here.