To approach the major research questions we had outlined, numerous logistical concerns had to be addressed. How to provide a secure environment to excavate and analyze was a principal issue. This concern was addressed by the U.S. Army Reserve who took on the Project Lead Coffins as a training mission. The military provided security and a specialized hospital tent complete with an X-Ray lab.
In order to proceed with the planned research it was necessary to find a way to image through thick lead so that we could have the best data on the condition of the remains and also not compromise the environmental data. Mark Moore, a nuclear physicist with the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute developed a process to create images through the lead using gamma radiation. Mr. Moore also made arrangements with MQS Inspections of Allentown PA to provide the necessary Cobalt 60 radiation source and a mobile laboratory to develop the images.
Two other logistical issues to be resolved:
1: How to extract an air sample without negatively impacting either the coffins or their contents, and
2: How to gently lift the coffins out of the ground and transport them to the area for study.
Elements of the U.S. Armed Forces again came to our aid. The Naval Electronic System Evaluation Activity at Webster Field, St. Inigoes, Maryland, provided a specialist who helped fabricate, in conjunction with NASA atmospheric scientists, a glove box system which allowed us to extract the coffin gasses without introducing an exterior air, replacing it with clean argon gas.
Technicians and craftsmen from the Patuxent Naval Air Station devised a special lifting cradle which was designed to cut under the coffins and a gantry system and bomb cart to lift each coffin out of the ground and transport it to the study tent. With these and other systems in place we were ready to begin the Field Phase of Project Lead Coffins – The Search for Maryland’s Founders
Throughout the project various companies, groups and individuals gave freely of their time to make the research possible. Below is a list of just the government agencies and private companies that gave freely of materials, time, and expertise. The success of the project reflects the commitment of these groups to helping us better understand our shared past.