New York

Ground radar finds hundreds of graves at historic site

  • This photo provided by the New York Landmarks Conservancy shows grave markers at the Rossville A.M.E. Zion Church Cemetery, part of the historic Sandy Ground community that was among the nation's first free-black settlements, on Monday, July 11, 2016, in the Staten Island borough of New York. The Conservancy announced that specialists using ground-penetrating radar have detected hundreds of previously undiscovered gravesites, at an average depth of about 10 feet, in the African-American burial ground that dates to the 1830s. The city has two other important African-American historic sites: Weekville, another free-black settlement in Brooklyn, and the African Burial Ground, in lower Manhattan. (Glen Umberger/New York Landmarks Conservancy via AP)

    This photo provided by the New York Landmarks Conservancy shows grave markers at the Rossville A.M.E. Zion Church Cemetery, part of the historic Sandy Ground community that was among the nation's first free-black settlements, on Monday, July 11, 2016, in the Staten Island borough of New York. The Conservancy announced that specialists using ground-penetrating radar have detected hundreds of previously undiscovered gravesites, at an average depth of about 10 feet, in the African-American burial ground that dates to the 1830s. The city has two other important African-American historic sites: Weekville, another free-black settlement in Brooklyn, and the African Burial Ground, in lower Manhattan. (Glen Umberger/New York Landmarks Conservancy via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This photo provided by the New York Landmarks Conservancy shows grave markers at the Rossville A.M.E. Zion Church Cemetery, part of the historic Sandy Ground community that was among the nation's first free-black settlements, on Monday, July 11, 2016, in the Staten Island borough of New York. The Conservancy announced that specialists using ground-penetrating radar have detected hundreds of previously undiscovered gravesites, at an average depth of about 10 feet, in the African-American burial ground that dates to the 1830s. The city has two other important African-American historic sites: Weekville, another free-black settlement in Brooklyn, and the African Burial Ground, in lower Manhattan. (Glen Umberger/New York Landmarks Conservancy via AP)

    This photo provided by the New York Landmarks Conservancy shows grave markers at the Rossville A.M.E. Zion Church Cemetery, part of the historic Sandy Ground community that was among the nation's first free-black settlements, on Monday, July 11, 2016, in the Staten Island borough of New York. The Conservancy announced that specialists using ground-penetrating radar have detected hundreds of previously undiscovered gravesites, at an average depth of about 10 feet, in the African-American burial ground that dates to the 1830s. The city has two other important African-American historic sites: Weekville, another free-black settlement in Brooklyn, and the African Burial Ground, in lower Manhattan. (Glen Umberger/New York Landmarks Conservancy via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Specialists using ground-penetrating radar in New York City have detected hundreds of previously undiscovered gravesites in an African-American burial ground that dates to the 1830s.

The New York Landmarks Conservancy announced the discovery Monday at Staten Island's Rossville A.M.E. Zion Church Cemetery, part of the historic Sandy Ground community that was among the nation's first free black settlements.

Before the radar survey there were 97 known burial sites on the 1.6-acre burial ground. Conservancy President Peg Breen says another 576 were discovered by radar at an average depth of 10 feet.

Sandy Ground was first settled by African-American oystermen. More than 150 families eventually moved there. The current Zion Church dates to 1897 and became a major stop on the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves.