1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: Oversight committee votes to move to phase II in mass graves investigation

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: Oversight committee votes to move to phase II in mass graves investigation
Ground penetration radar search for Tulsa Race Massacre mass graves begins Monday

TULSA, Okla. — The Public Oversight Committee for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Graves Investigation voted to move forward with Phase II Monday night.

Phase II is an intermediate phase that will help experts gather more information before performing any exhumations.

Archaeologists will expose an 8-by-8 area in the Oak Lawn Cemetery to determine whether human remains are present. The geophysical survey from the fall revealed anomalies in the soil, but now they are going to get a better idea of what is underground.

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There will be a mechanical excavation for the top layer of soil, then a team of anthropologists and archaeologists will dig by hand.

The intention is to obtain information but not remove any remains.

If there are remains, they will investigate whether those remains are associated with the massacre. They will look for signs of a violent death and the estimated time of death based on decomposition.

The intermediate steps will help bring insight to the larger effort. It will let experts know If they were looking in the right area and how many bodies may be there.

This process will take eight to 10 days, and is tentatively scheduled to begin in April.