Archaeologists have started conducting digs on the future home of the Franklin Grove Estate and Gardens based on an extensive ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey conducted on the property by leading expert Dr. Tim Horsley through a grant made possible by the Tennessee Wars Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission. The archaeological digs to uncover artifacts will help further illuminate the history of the property and its inhabitants.

The Preservation team with TRC archaeologists sift through soil to find artifacts.

Ground-penetrating radar is a non-invasive method of examining the topography of a particular area; highly specialized equipment lightly taps the ground and sends a radar signal to a satellite, which, in turn, can provide a look beneath the surface to show any non-environmental features or abnormalities such as buried artifacts or remnants of former structures.

“Ground penetrating radar, conducted by Dr. Tim Horsely with Horsely Archaeological Prospection LLC and in partnership with TRC, Inc., was conducted in January of 2022,” said Rachael Finch, Senior Director of Preservation, Education & Advocacy. “GPR provides a detailed underground picture and assists in locating potential historic and cultural features at Franklin Grove.”

“GPR also maps the site and provides a clearer picture of what lies beneath the surface. Because GPR is non-invasive and non-destructive, it makes it an ideal methodology for locating buried historic and cultural features at historic sites, like Franklin Grove,” continued Finch. “For Franklin Grove, GPR will help our archaeological team and our preservation team gain a better perspective of everyone who occupied the property and identify potential historic garden and boundary walls, possible foundations, ditches, and artifacts left behind and buried over time.”

The Franklin Grove campus has been home to two historic mansions, the site of a post-Civil War Freedmen Bureau school, and more recently, the former home of O’More College of Design. The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County will continue to learn more about the multi-layered history and tell its story as archaeology reveals more details. Vist our Franklin Grove page for more information about the Franklin Grove Estate and Gardens project and how to get involved.