Forensic Archaeological Investigation Uncovers Mystery at Local Cemeteries

Photo of man and woman sitting examining bones for forensic archaeology

Assisting the Kentucky Attorney General's investigation of abuses in three urban cemeteries (Eastern, Greenwood, and Schardein), Phil DiBlasi (now retired) conducted forensic archaeological investigations on hundreds of graves in an effort to acquire information to assist in the prosecution of the case. After the disposition of the case, research and assisting the community continue.

In some cases, families want loved ones' remains recovered, identified and moved to other cemeteries. DiBlasi and students excavated remains and examined them to estimate age, ancestry, sex, and stature. Pathologies and trauma reported by families are also sought on the remains to aid in the identification process.

In other cases, families simply want to find the graves of loved ones. The records have been moved to the UofL Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (CACHe) for curation. A Trust Fund was established for the maintenance of the records. Presently, the majority of the records have been entered into a searchable database and many of the original records, dating to 1843, have been scanned.

The CACHe assists family members in providing information from the cemetery records to prepare petitions to the courts for disinterments and the rare burials, still allowed in these cemeteries. We also works with local volunteer organizations advising them when it comes to ground altering activity that is closely monitored by the courts. For information about any of these cemeteries and individuals buried within them, please send requests to the dedicated email address