Researchers trying to locate Chinese immigrant remains in NJ church basement

This piece originally appeared on ABC7 Eyewitness News

BELLEVILLE, New Jersey (WABC) -- Using sophisticated geophysical mapping equipment, a team of Rutgers researchers is attempting to unearth a mystery nearly 150 years old. They are trying to locate the remains of Chinese immigrants in the basement of a historic church.

They are working carefully, preserving the history of the site.

"You want to minimize disturbance to the ground and disturbance to the historic site - disturbance to the graves," said Rutgers University Professor Lee Slater.

Those Chinese immigrants believe to be buried at the location worked on the Trans-Continental Railroad, but returned to Belleville because of its growing Chinese community.

The equipment will shed light on possible bone fragments or something they were wearing.

"If there are burials where they have any significant metallic objects, it really increases the chance of seeing the grave," said Professor Slater.


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