First Day Of Cemetery Data Collection

On our first day of cemetery data collection it was a fresh/cold Friday morning around 11 p.m. as the cold front lasted all throughout the afternoon. When Dr. Rowe arrived at the cemetery she proceeded to take out all the equipment that we will be using for the remainder of the semester, which include: a ruler (to measure the graves), a permanent marker (to check mark the graves that are completed), and a legend (of all the possible graves that would be available to input into KoBoToolbox). The only tool that we must bring ourselves is our cellular phone or device with internet connection to input the data of the grave. One of the main tools that we are using is the total station to map the grave site. that tool is delicate and takes precise instructions to set up or else will not properly function, this device shoots a laser to the prism that is used to mark the grave, this data is then stored in the total station which in return is used to mark the graves. Dr. Rowe has also used the drone to have an aerial view of the cemetery, as well as the GPR, which is penetrating radar that is also used to properly mark the graves.

on the first day I was operating the Total station along with other classmates that where handling the prism. This was a good day for data collection because it was not a typical hot Texas day which enabled us as a team to collect and map a good number of graves on our first day of data collection. Based on my observation it is amazing how old this graveyard is I have come across a couple of graves from the 1800’s, the work that is being conducted in this cemetery is astonishing and helpful not only to the individuals that have been laid to rest, but to their families and the community as a whole, this public archaeology mapping is essential to learn more about our past in our Culturally diverse Rio Grande Valley, upon further investigation I have also stumbled upon a grave in which the man was from Sweden the epitaph was written in Swedish, in addition the grave was also from the 1800’s.

Overall the first day of data collection had a profound impact on me, because it seems as if the cemetery is split in two just like our society, there are the graves that have lush green grass around them that are mowed weekly and watered almost daily with marble and granite headstones, while the other half which is the help that we are mapping is dry with weeds and dirt covering a lot of the headstones, the only clean graves are the ones that the family of the deceased come to pay their respects and offer maintenance to the graves. the graves remind me of the forgotten people of the Rio Grande Valley that in my opinion are the poor that lives in colonias and respectively had a very humble lifestyle.

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