Dr. Benjamin Pykles presented the 2015 Quey Hebrew Lecture.
Dr. Benjamin Pykles: Bearing Witness through the Past
During his career, Dr. Benjamin Pykles has uncovered ruins of the 1910s in Iosepa, Utah and researched the rise of historical archeology of the 1930s. Now he’s using his skills to uncover the past of the pioneers in the early nineteenth century.
Pykles, as part of the Department of Geological Sciences’ Quey Hebrew Memorial Lecture, illustrated the value of remote-sensing technologies ranging from specially-trained canines to ground-penetrating radar at the Priesthood Restoration Site, Historic Nauvoo, Haun’s Mill, Far West Burial Grounds, and the original Provo Tabernacle.
Pykles started his presentation by talking about his work at the Haun’s Mill Massacre Site and the Far West Burial Grounds, both in Missouri. The two projects are still in progress, and the two sites have offered ideal opportunities to test a variety of new technologies.
“We set out to investigate this eighty-acre parcel [the Far West Burial Grounds] using a variety of remote-sensing techniques,” Pykles said. “We used some very specially trained dogs, magnetometry, and ground-penetrating radar. We followed that with excavations.”
“A lot of people wonder why the Church places such importance, time, and resources into restoring these sites, Pykles said.
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