Are there graves in Mammoth Cave National Park?


Moe Daniels

Morley, Kappesser, Bergman​ (in that order) with their project and their ground penetrating radar (GPR) used to try and find potential graves in Mammoth National Park.

Josh Morley, Clint Kappesser and Andrew Bergman, senior geology majors, unveiled the findings of their research in this year’s 2015 NKU Celebration.

The trio used two geophysical methods, electrical resistivity (ER) and ground penetrating radar (GPR) to see if there were hidden graves in Mammoth Cave National Park.

Their research was sponsored by NKU faculty member, Thomas Brackman of the Center for Integrative Natural Science and Mathematics.

“Unfortunately we didn’t find any substantial evidence that showed that they were any gravesites,” Morley said.

The biggest challenge for the trio hit when their ER equipment broke the first day at the national park. The group set up their equipment with the intention of beginning research that day. The equipment failed, setting them behind two weeks.

The trio used a GPR for most of their research.  

“It sends radio waves down to the ground and eventually if they hit something, they bounce back up,” Bergman said.

The waves hit materials such as metal or wood, which causes them to not go any further and reflect back up the surface.

“If there was a body there, it would hit the body and it wouldn’t go any further,” Bergman said.

Bergman explained they would recognize if a potential body was present because the waves would just continuously go up and down, stopping at a potential body.

Although the students did not receive the results they hoped for, they were glad they could experience this prior to graduation.