Archaeologists search for missing cemetery hidden in Siouxland soil

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DAKOTA COUNTY, Neb. (KCAU) — The search was on for the oldest cemetery in Dakota County, Nebraska on Tuesday, which went missing over a century ago.

The Dakota County Historical Society and Nebraska State Historical Society teamed up to use ground penetrating radar to determine the location of the Omadi Cemetery. The town was wiped out by the Missouri River in the 1800s and researchers are trying to identify the location of its cemetery.

Dennis Reinert is the president of the Dakota County Historical Society. He said this is a challenging mystery to solve.

“We all kind of agree there is something out here, somewhere,” Reinert said. “We’re hoping this is the place. And how many deceased? We don’t know. We only know of three that we have found on record, but there’s probably more.”

The team mapped out a 30-meter area and then used ground penetrating radar to form gridlines. They hope to see high radar reflections, which could indicate unmarked graves.

Bob Nickel is an archaeologist from Lincoln. He said animal holes could create anomalies on the graph, but he doesn’t expect to see many false alarms.

“You expect a natural feature like this to be fairly consistent from location to location at any given depth, so it should be a fairly bland image unless there are introduced targets,” Nickel said.

The cemetery is expected to be a mile away from where Omadi used to stand. The team will evaluate their data over the next several days and they hope to know next week whether or not they found the cemetery.

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