Forgotten Soldiers And Patriots From The American Revolution Could Be Rediscovered In Morris County, Thanks To A Research Team From Ithaca College

ITHACA, NY — During the American Revolution, the Rockaway Presbyterian Church, Rockaway, NJ, gave patriots, soldiers and other figures from that turbulent time a gathering place to share their views and speak their minds. From June 16 to 18, the quarter acre of the church’s cemetery containing old and unmarked burial sites will be investigated by a faculty-and-student research team from Ithaca College. Using radio signals instead of shovels, associate professor of physics Michael “Bodhi” Rogers and three of his students will use ground-penetrating radar equipment to survey the old site in hopes of helping Robert Nichols, the cemetery sexton, identify the resting place of figures who shaped our country’s early years.

“We’ll be using a suite of ground-based remote sensing equipment, also known as archaeological geophysics instruments, to do our investigation,” Rogers said. “Instead of using a destructive technique such as excavation at the site, we’ll use radar, electrical currents and other technologies that essentially ‘see’ into the ground. If soil patterns have been disturbed or other geophysical changes have been created by human intervention of the site, our high-resolution sampling with the instruments will allow us to create maps of these sub-surface features.”

Rogers and his student research teams have used these instruments at archaeological sites throughout the world, including explorations of Late Bronze Age cities in Cyprus and ancient Native American sites in Nevada, New Mexico and New York.

“If the unmarked burials have a geophysical contrast with the surrounding soils, we expect to provide a map identifying the locations of these burials,” Rogers said. “Because our methods are non-invasive we avoid disturbing the burials and provide information to help avoid any future disturbance of the burials.”

“I’ve been involved with a number of surveys with ‘Bodhi’ Rogers, including one near Las Vegas, where we used the archaeological geophysical equipment to look for evidence of pit houses that turned out to be 1,300 years old,” said Kevin Hurley, a senior physics major. “It was really fascinating because the site was only five miles from what is now the Las Vegas Strip.”

Joining Rogers and Hurley on the Rockaway trip will be sophomore physics major Joyce Wu and sophomore physics/engineering major Danny Bradac.

To interview Rogers and his team and to cover and photograph them in action, call 508-966-7583.

Rogers can be reached in Ithaca at (607) 274-3963 or

Originally published in News Releases: Forgotten Soldiers And Patriots From The American Revolution Could Be Rediscovered In Morris County.

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