HERRIN — Eastern Illinois University geologist Steven Di Naso asked the Herrin City Council to let his team move forward and keep searching for victims of the 1922 Herrin Massacre on Monday.

Geologists and researchers from EIU, who are in search of the remains of the victims, found evidence Friday of five previous burials in lots that have been sold to other parties since 1988 at Herrin Cemetery. Three union and 19 non-union miners or mine guards were killed in two days of strike violence June 21 and June 22, 1922.

“Let us do the work, let us complete the project, and then let us report back to the council instead of working in these steps and I think we will have much more to tell the council,” Di Naso, a 25-year veteran of geospatial studies, said to the council.

Di Naso said his crew is not disturbing any of the

graves but just investigating rather or not victims are there.

Herrin City Attorney, John Brewster said the council should allow the crew to keep working because this is an important matter.

“Given that they have done a lot of work already and there seems like much more

work that needs to be done, I would personally and professionally encourage the

council to agree with the proposal to stay with this project,” Brewster said. “Let’s see where this takes us.”

“I think this is important for the city and to the families of the people already buried and those that may be buried there,” Brewster said.”

The council came to a consensus to allow Di Naso and his team to continue its work on the cemetery.

During Friday’s dig, Di Naso and his team noticed some inconsistencies with the soil and plan to explore further.

“At this time we are not sure we went deep enough,” Di Naso said. “We had another hypothesis from some earlier soil samples that showed there was a buried soil horizon, basically saying the surface horizon now is a bit higher than it was in 1922.”

Di Naso could not confirm that his team has found the remains of any of the massacre victims, but has not ruled out the possibility.

He said the benefit to the city of Herrin is to be able to provide a map of certain parts of the cemetery where there are burial plots. The city would then be able to manage the cemetery more effectively


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